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These guidelines are advisory in nature and set out general concepts rather than precise statutory language. The ICCFA is not recommending that the guidelines be codified into law as a whole. Instead, the guidelines are intended for consideration as a series of options to be selectively chosen by interested parties to address particular concerns.
Developed in 1998 by the Government and Legal Affairs Task Force of the
International Cemetery and Funeral Association
No cemetery is immune from acts of vandalism and other forms of desecration. Although vandalism may be typically committed by youths as a form of hooliganism, more serious acts of desecration are committed by satanic cults who engage in ritualistic grave robbing or otherwise defile an interment space. Fences can be erected around cemeteries, and electronic surveillance and watchmen employed, but even intensified security cannot totally eliminate this serious problem. The consequences of cemetery vandalism are not limited to property damage, but can result in emotional trauma to the relatives and friends of the decedent whose grave has been desecrated.
Since vandalism by definition originates from the deliberate acts of the offenders, penalties should be sufficiently severe to serve as a deterrent. Yet many states have virtually no statutory provisions addressing cemetery vandalism or desecration, which makes prosecution difficult. As an initial deterrent to reduce the incidences of vandalism, an unauthorized individual trespassing on cemetery property when the cemetery is closed should be subject to criminal prosecution.
The various types of misconduct should be classified as either felony or misdemeanor offenses with clearly-defined mandatory, minimum penalties. Further, it should be clarified that certain necessary activities performed by a cemetery authority are exempted from the definitions of misconduct.