Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Teen Girl in Trouble After Making Sexually Offensive Change to Yearbook

Kaitlyn Booth, 17. Police photo.

It was a dumb prank and even its victim isn’t terribly upset. But authorities say 17-year-old Kaitlyn Booth committed property damage, which means she could soon face some hefty criminal charges.

On May 14, teachers at Hickman High School, in Columbia, Mo., noticed something amiss in the school yearbook–all 720 copies of it. The last name of one senior, Raigan Mastain had been changed to–yes–”masturbate.” Both Booth and Mastain had worked on the yearbook staff together, and Mastain didn’t think Booth had a problem with her. Booth was arrested at school on suspicion of first-degree property damage, a felony, and harassment.

When Mastain spoke to the Columbia Daily Tribune about the incident, she was level headed: ”I was kind of annoyed. It was stupid, but I wasn’t that upset,” she said, adding “When you’re in high school, you do stuff that is not necessarily the smartest, and this was an example of that.”

Staff at the school decided that it would be too expensive–about $41,000–to reprint all the yearbooks. Instead, they spent 12 hours retrieving the copies that had been handed out and diligently placing stickers with Mastain’s name over the offending word. Mastain herself is more upset that the attention Booth’s vandalism received took away from students appreciating the hard work that the yearbook staff had put in.

Still, Mastain hopes that Booth’s mistake won’t lead to a lifelong criminal record: ”What she did wasn’t right, but I don’t think it should affect her for the rest of her life.”

Booth has not been charged as of this writing, but police say she may be soon.

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