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4th vandalism attack reported at a Central Coast site tied to Junipero Serra

Vandals have attacked another historical religious site in the Central Coast connected to the controversial missionary St. Junipero Serra.

This time, vandals splashed red paint across the front door of the Mission Santa Cruz, one of 21 Spanish Franciscan missions stretching from Sonoma to San Diego. The mission wasn’t founded by Serra but by his successor, Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén.

Students touring the historical mission in Santa Cruz discovered the vandalism Monday, KSBW-TV reported. Calls to the Diocese of Monterey and Santa Cruz police were not returned.

The attack is the fourth incident of vandalism on Serra-related buildings and statues along the Central Coast.

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The first was reported in September, when someone poured black paint on a statue of Serra.

Days later, vandals splashed paint throughout the cemetery and basilica at the Carmel Mission and scrawled "Saint of Genocide” on a headstone. The missionary is buried at the site.

In Monterey, vandals decapitated a statue of Serra, an 18th-century friar who brought Catholicism to California.

Monterey police detectives have been talking to Carmel police to determine whether the incidents are related, he said.

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The incidents came after Pope Francis elevated Serra to sainthood -- a decision that was met with protests. Pope Francis canonized Serra in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September.

Serra has been criticized by many for his harsh treatment of Native Americans but others have said he was a good man who deserved canonization.

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA

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