Santa Rosa, CA – July 20, 2018 – Defendants Vincent O’Sullivan and Michael Campos, the individuals responsible for the theft of a Gay Pride Flag in the Guerneville Plaza on March 9, 2018 were sentenced earlier today by the Honorable Chris Honigsberg.
Defendant Michael Thomas Campos, 35 years old of Guerneville, CA, entered a no contest plea to the theft charge on Friday morning and was subsequently sentenced to a three year grant of probation, ordered to complete 80 hours of community service, specifically cleaning up the Russian River, and ordered to stay away from Guerneville Plaza. Campos was further sentenced to 60 days jail which was suspended pending completion of community service work and no new law violations for the duration of his probation.
Vincent O’Sullivan, 55 years old of Guerneville, CA, was found guilty by a jury for his role in the theft. On July 13, 2018, O’Sullivan was sentenced by Commissioner Mark Urioste to a three year grant of probation, ordered to complete 100 hours of community service specifically cleaning up the Russian River, and pay restitution for the price of the flag. He was also ordered to stay away from the Guerneville Plaza and was sentenced to 120 days jail pending completion of community service work and no new law violations for the duration of his probation.
O’Sullivan remains out on bail pending a felony criminal threats charge with a hate crime allegation. He is due back in court on July 25, 2018
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “We agree with the court’s remarks regarding the theft of a flag that is a symbol to many. The act reflects an intolerance that is not characteristic of this community, and the thieves were properly brought to justice.”
The Rainbow Gay Pride Flag flying underneath the U.S. and California flags in the Guerneville Plaza was stolen numerous times between March and May. Each time the flag was stolen it was replaced. The charge against Mr. O’Sullivan and Mr. Campos resulted from a theft that occurred in the early morning hours of May 9, 2018. Surveillance footage from Smart Pizza, located in Guerneville Plaza, showed Michael Campos and Vincent O’Sullivan loitering around the plaza, inspecting the flag pole, and looking at the surveillance cameras. Eventually, Michael Campos used a napkin/rag to cover the surveillance camera during which time Vincent O'Sullivan removed the Pride Flag from the pole. O'Sullivan and Campos were subsequently seen in the surveillance footage working together to adjust the collars on the flag pole before leaving the area. The pride flag was never recovered.
Commissioner Urioste, when sentencing, admonished Mr. O’Sullivan regarding his conduct and reiterated although he has every right to feel a particular way about the Pride Flag he does not have a right to steal with impunity. Commissioner Urioste further commented the theft was not done for the monetary value of the flag but was rather committed in order to silence the members of the LGBTQ community and limit their First Amendment rights, stating that conduct is “reprehensible and will not be tolerated.”