SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — A recent graduate of a Vermont high school charged with a hate crime after being accused of spray-painting an athletic field with a racial slur directed at a classmate has pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The Burlington Free Press reports that 19-year-old Tyler Austin faced a charge of disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancement. He pleaded to one count of unlawful mischief and one count of disorderly conduct on Wednesday as a part of a plea agreement.

Earlier this year, police had declined to bring a hate crime charge because the June 5 vandalism was a property crime against South Burlington High School, not against an individual. But the prosecutor said the message targeted an individual and was motivated by race.


Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com