Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Potential Anti-Lesbian Hate Crime at East Carolina University

Bryan Berg, ECU Hate Crime Suspect

Greenville, North Carolina – Two women from off-campus were assaulted Friday outside an East Carolina University dormitory by two men yelling anti-lesbian epithets.  ECU Police arrested Bryan Berg, an 18-year-old student, for allegedly punching one of the women in the jaw.  Berg has been charged with assault, and then released from the Pitt County Detention Center on $27,000 bond.  A second man is being sought by authorities for the crime.  ECU Police Assistant Chief Dawn Tevepaugh told The Reflector that the victims of the attack were non-students from Chocowinity, a small town in the Greenville metropolitan area.  The women, 18 and 19 years of age respectively, had visited friends in a university dormitory, and were exiting the building when Berg and the second assailant accused them of being lesbians before launching their attack.  The violence took place at about 2:45 a.m., but the ECU Police were not apprised of the incident until the hospital informed them that the two women were hospitalized for the attack.  The identities of the women are being withheld in the interest of their safety, according to Q Notes, the LGBT news source for the Carolinas.  Authorities have not characterized the sexual orientations of the victims at this time.  A witness told authorities that before Berg allegedly hit the 18-year-old woman, he spat on her.  Both victims were hurt in the assault.  They were treated at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, and the elder of the two was released on Friday.  The younger woman remains hospitalized because of a severely broken jaw. Assistant Chief Tevepaugh says that investigators have not yet determined that the assault meets federal criteria for a hate crime, but the nature of the attack and the alleged anti-gay slurs used by the attackers led the police to examine the possibility closely.  Tevepaugh told Q Notes, “We have to look at all the elements of the incident to see if they meet the federal requirements to be classified as a hate crime, including what was said and the actions that occurred. At this time, we believe it was an isolated incident.”  Aaron Lucier, director of the campus LGBT Union, responded confidently that the investigation would be carried out in an efficient and fair-minded way.  “Hate crime or not,” Lucier said to Q Notes, “it was a violent act, something we don’t want on our campus. We have a campus here that celebrates diversity on all levels. Our students find an educational campus here that is welcoming, but also learning, so it is a space that our students will find supportive and welcoming.”

October 17, 2010 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, East Carolina University, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, Mistaken as LGBT, North Carolina, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, women | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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