Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Florida Woman Brutally Raped for Being “Dyke” and “Lesbian”

Lesbian rapeOrlando, Florida – A rape victim says she was violated by three men under a downtown Orlando overpass on Sunday.  The woman who remains unidentified for her own protection, told police that her assailants attacked her as she paused to do a good deed after leaving a popular LGBT club.  As they pressed the attack, and raped her, the victim said the men yelled anti-lesbian slurs at her: “dyke” and “lesbian.”  One of the rapists reportedly snarled, “I’ll show you what a REAL man feels like!”

According to News 13, police are investigating the attack as a bias-motivated hate crime.  The woman, who had left Club Revolution, stopped under the overpass to give a homeless man some change and a cold soda, when the three rapists charged up in their vehicle, caught her, ripped off her clothes, and assaulted her as they heckled her for being a lesbian.  Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices”, in all the reports of the assault they gathered, says nothing to confirm or deny that the victim is indeed a lesbian.  It does not matter.  The woman’s sexual orientation was assumed to be lesbian by the homophobes who raped her.  The crime is heinous in whatever case, and the Orlando Police Department is correct to investigate it as a hate crime.

WESH/NBC News Orlando reminds us that seven people were reported by the FBI as attacked for their sexual orientation in Central Florida last year alone, and the number of unreported anti-LGBT hate crimes would undoubtedly be higher.  This summer has been particularly deadly.  Randy Stephens of the Center, a local LGBT advocacy organization, said to WESH, “There are still people out there that hate us. Even with all the victories wave had, we may have let our guard down.”

There have been no arrests in the case as of yet.

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, FBI, Florida, GLBTQ, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Mistaken as LGBT, Orlando Police Department, rape, Sexual assault, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, The Center (Orlando), Unsolved LGBT Crimes, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anti-Gay Hazing Aboard Nuclear Submarine Leads To Top Non-Com Dismissal

USS Florida already had a “culture of homophobia” prior to the harassment of a crew member suspected of being gay.

Norfolk, Virginia – With little or no privacy, and nowhere to escape from his anti-gay torment, a sailor targeted for harassment aboard nuclear submarine USS Florida (SSBN/SSGN – 728), became the center of a homophobic hazing case that has created a public relations nightmare for the U.S. Navy. The Associated Press revealed that the Navy released its report in March detailing months of anti-gay taunts against the unnamed submariner–leading to the dismissal of the Chief of the Boat, the submarine’s top non-commissioned officer.  Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Charles Berry was fired by Captain Stephen Gillespie “for dereliction of duty” related to his failure to report and advise the commanding officer of the boat on issues arising among enlisted men.

The targeted sailor whose identity and sexual orientation have not be released in the investigative report, suffered incessant anti-gay jokes, was subjected to anti-gay epithets and nicknames, and was the victim of an alleged attempted rape at knife point by a  man while the Florida was in a foreign port of call–Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Prior the the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the sailor was constantly taunted to “come out of the closet” as a gay man and jeered at for having a Filipino boyfriend, the ethnicity of the attempted rapist. He was labeled “Brokeback” for the famous gay-themed motion picture, Brokeback Mountain. The Navy report said that the sailor endured the harassment because he thought it would cease at some point.  After eight months of constant homophobic harassment in 2011, the sailor finally passed along a note for help, saying that the combination of the attempted rape, the hounding, and the constant pressure put on him by crew members was driving him to suicide, or to an act of violence against his tormentors.

The Navy report says that sailors who participated in the hazing did not appreciate the psychological harm their actions caused their shipmate. The report also states that Chief Berry did not participate in the anti-gay hazing of the sailor, but did not report what was going on to his superior officers, either. As background to the embarrassing revelations of anti-gay abuse, the report also detailed that the Florida had developed a whole culture of heterosexist and homophobic prejudice, and detailed a number of examples.

In response, the Navy ordered training and counseling up and down the line to prevent anything like this from happening again. Besides the chief of the boat, several junior crew members who participated in the anti-gay harassment have also faced disciplinary actions, including loss of rank and pay.  In its March 30 statement to the public, the Navy said: “The Navy’s standards for personal behavior are very high and it demands that sailors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. When individuals fall short of this standard of professionalism and personal behavior, the Navy will take swift and decisive action to stop undesirable behavior, protect victims and hold accountable those who do not meet its standards.” 

This week, Vice Admiral John Richardson who commands the Norfolk-based submarine force, issued a blog post in response to the scandal this incident had created in the submarine service in which he focuses attention on the importance of character in Navy life. “A violation by one seems to be a violation against all,” the admiral wrote.

The USS Florida, an Ohio-class nuclear submarine homeported at Naval Submarine Base King’s Bay, Georgia, participated in action against Libyan forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi in March 2011 by launching scores of Tomahawk missiles, the only one of the four Ohio-class SSGNs available to serve in Operation Odyssey Dawn. Apparently, the senseless anti-gay torment of the sailor in question was going full tilt during the period of combat operations.

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), Georgia, GLBTQ, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, military, rape, Slurs and epithets, U.S. Navy, Virginia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Anti-Gay Rapist Sought by New York City Police

Suspect Julius "Stinky" Wright (NYPD photo)

Brooklyn, New York – “Stinky” is as “Stinky” does (allegedly, at least).  The New York Police Department is searching for suspected hate crime perpetrator, Julius “Stinky” Wright, 21, for a sexual assault in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district on a 24-year-old Hispanic male.  The Advocate reports that Wright confronted the Hispanic around 3 a.m. on September 5 with a fake firearm, and demanded to know his sexual orientation.  Wright then allegedly cursed the Hispanic with homophobic slurs, and berated him for being weak.  Social justice advocates report that the assailant then brutally sodomized his victim.  The New York Daily News posted that the suspect stole his victim’s cell phone, and ran from the scene. The victim was transported to Woodhull Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries, and was later released.

City Council Member Al Vann who represents the district where the crime occurred was joined in a statement by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn: “We are disgusted and horrified to hear about this incident. Hate crimes hurt everyone, and any act of violence against one member of the LGBT community is an act of violence against us all. Too often we hear about acts of violence committed against LGBT people in our city. We must put an end to the intolerance that breeds this hatred. New York City prides itself on diversity and acceptance of all its residents and this act goes against the very fiber of what our city stands for.”

The NYPD is asking anyone with information about the whereabouts of Wright to contact them immediately at 1-800-577-TIPS.

September 26, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Brooklyn, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, LGBTQ, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, rape, Sexual assault, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anti-Gay Rapist Sought by New York City Police

Terlingua Hate Rapists Still Unpunished

Boathouse Bar, Terlingua, Texas where two alleged rapists kidnapped their victim (Stephen Sprinkle photo)

Brewster County, Texas – Two alleged power rapists in Far West Texas, jailed since December 2009, have yet to face pre-trial proceedings in the abduction and repeated rape of a high school senior from Terlingua.  Terlingua, near the Mexico border and Big Bend National Park, is remote–80 miles from Alpine, and 330 miles from El Paso.  On the night of December 6-7, 2009, Daniel Martinez, 46, and Kristapher Buchanan, 27, allegedly abducted an 18 year old bisexual male at a bar and game room, stole the car he was living in, and traveled into the far desert to a shack in the Terlingua Ranch section of Brewster County where they brutally beat, demeaned and sexually assaulted their victim as they shouted anti-gay epithets.  The assailants torched the victim’s car, burning up all his worldly possessions.  As the young man tried to retrieve precious items, he was severely burned.  After a second round of brutal rape, the attackers sunk into a drunken stupor, allowing the victim to escape into the desert at about 2 AM.  He walked over three miles in the pitch dark through rough desert terrain wearing flip flops, pajama bottoms, and a tattered tee shirt in freezing temperature, finally making it to Highway 118 where a Sheriff’s Deputy found him and transported him to medical attention in Alpine.  The identity of the victim is protected under Texas law since he was the victim of a sexual assault, and the case against his alleged assailants is still in process.  Power-rape has been employed since time immemorial to subdue and shame victims.  Residents of the area believe the assailants have a pattern of such activity involving young victims, and reports suggest the pair have used alcohol and intimidation to harm at least one 15-year-old boy in the region, as well.  Although the case has the classic marks of an anti-gay hate crime, law enforcement has not filed charges under the Texas hate crimes law, named for James Byrd, Jr. as is the federal law now in force.  Harry Knox, Director of the Religion and Faith Program of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, professor at Brite Divinity School and Director of the Unfinished Lives Project, traveled to Brewster County to carry out a “ministry of presence” to officials involved in the case.  Knox and Sprinkle arrived in Brewster County on July 7 and spent three days interviewing citizens and calling on authorities in order to communicate the interest of Texas and the nation in the hate crime, and in the welfare of the young victim.  Clarence Russeau, Community Education and Outreach Specialist with the Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend, Inc. of Alpine and Terlingua, hosted Knox and Sprinkle, arranged appointments in the region, and served as guide throughout the visit.  The trio visited the Alpine office of Texas State Representative Pete Gallego, 20 year veteran of the Texas Legislature, Jesse Gonzales, District Attorney in the case at his Fort Stockton office, President Ricardo Maestas of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, attorney for the victim, Jennie Fannin at her Alpine office, and the Terlingua branch of the Family Crisis Center where they met with Director Lovika De Koninck.  At each stop, Knox, Sprinkle and Russeau emphasized the need for the community to hold local school, law enforcement, and higher education officials to a high standard of accountability in the hate crime case.  Citizens of Terlingua told the visitors that the victim was well-known to them, and he has their full support as he recovers from his trauma. Over 200 residents of Terlingua protested the low bail assigned to the young victim’s alleged assailants, and sent a petition to the district attorney demanding the bail be raised.  Ms. De Koninck said that the young man would have a warm welcome when he returns to Terlingua. Citizens told the trio that the victim had been shunned by his family because of his sexual orientation, and though he had only his car to live in, he continued to support himself with a job at a local café, and faithfully attended school.  Initially, however, the superintendent of schools in Terlingua, Kathy Killingsworth, allegedly ordered the victim to leave school before he could graduate because she did not want his orientation or the crime perpetrated against him to be discussed in the schools she oversaw.  Due to pressure from the community, the superintendent, who is also a Brewster County Commissioner, apparently reconsidered her position, and will now allow the victim to complete requirements for his diploma, according to local reports.  No trial date has yet been set in the case, though the district attorney suggests that it will be before the end of the year.  Both the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have been notified about the crime.  Knox and Sprinkle have pledged to monitor the situation from Dallas and Washington, and communicate with officials regularly to ensure care for the young hate crime victim and a speedy and just trial for the defendants in the case.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Bisexual persons, Brewster County Texas, Bullying in schools, FBI, gay men, gay teens, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign, Kidnapping and sexual assault, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Politics, Protests and Demonstrations, rape, Social Justice Advocacy, Terlingua, Texas, U.S. Justice Department | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Jane Doe” Lesbian Rape Hearing Set A Year After the Crime

Josue Gonzalez, suspect in "Jane Doe" Rape Case

Contra Costa County, California – According to The Bay Area Reporter, an out lesbian known only to the public as “Jane Doe” was brutally raped by four men who attacked her because of her sexual orientation.  The first preliminary hearing on the case is scheduled to be held in January 2010, over a year after the savage rape incident that nearly took her life.  On December 13, 2008 at about 9:30 p.m., “Jane,” 28 at the time of the attack according to an AP wire service report,  was sexually assaulted by the men who watched her get out of her car in Richmond’s Belding-Woods neighborhood.  They had noticed a rainbow pride sticker on the car window, which police allege aided them in targeting the lesbian.  They forced her back into her car after being disturbed by someone approaching the scene of the crime, and drove her seven blocks to another location near an apartment complex on Burbeck Avenue where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted and beaten with a blunt object.  During the assault, the rapists allegedly taunted her for being a lesbian.  They stole her wallet, dumped her naked on the street, and drove away in her car, which was later identified by a rainbow sticker on the windshield.  Wounded and bleeding, “Jane” crawled to one of the apartments, and found help from the residents, who called the Richmond police.  She was transported to the hospital where her injuries were treated, and evidence of the rapes was collected with a rape kit.  “Jane’s” car was located in Richmond the next day.  Four suspects were arrested two weeks later, Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 32; Josue Gonzalez, 22; Darrell Albert Hodges, 16; and Robert James Ortiz, 16.  Salvador, Gonzalez, and Hodges pleaded not guilty earlier this year to felony kidnapping, carjacking, forcible rape, and forcible oral copulation.  Ortiz will enter a plea on similar charges January 7, according to documents of the court.  Bail for Ortiz is $3.5 million, bail for Salvador is $2.2 million, and bail for Gonzalez and Hodges is $1.9 million.  The Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney, Danielle Douglas told BAR reporters that the victim, who is partnered and has an eight year old child, is “coping” the best she can.  “That’s really all I can say,” Douglas said. “She’s doing her best to try to move forward.”  Richmond Police spokesman Lieutenant Mark Gagan commented to the BAR on the brutality of the crime:  “What’s difficult in this case is the level of aggression that the suspects showed was so immediate and over the top I don’t think that there was anything that our victim could have done to avoid being victimized,” said Gagan. “From what I understand, it was an immediate, extremely aggressive attack without provocation and without really any warning.”  District Attorney Office spokespeople say that the complexity of this case makes it move so slowly through the court system.  Since serious jail time is involved for all the suspects if proven guilty, each one of them has secured separate counsel, and all the defense attorneys are asking for maximum time to prepare for the trials, which will probably be split among the defendants rather being done as a single trial for all four men.  “Jane Doe’s” legal counsel, Gloria Allred, who represented the mother of slain transgender woman Gwen Araujo, is not pressing the court dates, given the level of trauma her client sustained from the multiple rapes and the viciousness of the attack.  A preliminary hearing is set for early January 2010, a usual legal procedure in California law in rape cases.  If the preliminary hearing uncovers evidence enough for a trial in the case, then the wheels of justice will turn toward days in court for the four defendants and the victim of one of Richmond’s most brutal anti-LGBT hate crimes.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, California, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, rape, Slurs and epithets, transgender persons | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Jane Doe” Lesbian Rape Hearing Set A Year After the Crime

Overflow Crowd Lays Jason Mattison, Jr. To Rest in Baltimore; Murder Investigation Continues

East Baltimore, Maryland – An overflow crowd packed the Unity United Methodist Church on Edmundson Avenue in Baltimore Thursday for the funeral of slain gay teenager, Jason Mattison, Jr.  The Baltimore Sun reports that the principal of Mattison’s high school announced the establishment of a scholarship in his memory at the service. “No one is truly gone if you carry them in your heart,” Principal Starletta Jackson said. “And Jason is a part of our heart. We all knew that Jason wanted to be a pediatrician. There was never a question of whether or not he was going to make it. Some children we have to pray over a lot — pray for grades that they pass, but we never worried about that with Jason.”  Rev. Patricia D. Johnson, speaking to the mourners, said that young Mattison’s brutal murder serves as a warning to parents to watch over their children in neighborhood of rundown row houses that the church serves.  At times during the 90-minute service, teen classmates who loved the sassy, joyous gay boy with his signature tight jeans and cool sweaters were so overcome with emotion they had to excuse themselves from the church sanctuary.  No doubt he left his mark on their lives and on the Harlem Park neighborhood where he lived.  Principal Jackson concluded her remarks, “We will miss you, Jason, but know that your memory will never be lost.”  Mystery surrounds the grisly murder.  Dante L. Parrish was arrested and confessed to the rape and slaughter of Mattison, and is being held without bail.  Mattison’s cousin described him as “an old family friend,” presumably of Mattison’s aunt, where the gay youth’s body was found in an upstairs closet, gagged with a pillowcase and savagely stabbed in the head and neck with a box cutter.  Conflicting accounts of why Mattison was at his aunts’ house have come from family members.  His cousin says that he was “visiting relatives.”  His paternal grandmother has said that her grandson was actually living in the home rather than in his parents’ home, suggesting some possible alienation or estrangement that Mattison kept under wraps at school.  While he was an open book insofar as his sexual orientation was concerned, he was tightlipped about his home life and his living situation around his classmates.  Family sources also suggest that Parrish had exhibited an unhealthy interest in Mattison for some time, one that allegedly made the gay youth uncomfortable.  As the investigation into one of Baltimore’s worst bias-related hate crimes continues, the search for answers about his family’s relationship with a convicted murderer and their attitude toward Mattison’s homosexuality goes on.  On Sunday, vigils and protests related to Jason’s horrific death and that of slain Puerto Rican gay teen, Jorge Steven López Mercado, took place in more than 20 cities around the country, from coast-to-coast.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Condolences, gay men, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Maryland, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, rape, Remembrances, stabbings, Torture and Mutilation, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Overflow Crowd Lays Jason Mattison, Jr. To Rest in Baltimore; Murder Investigation Continues

Gay Lad’s Accused Killer and Rapist was Convicted Murderer

Jason Mattison, Jr. (l), Dante Parrish (r)

Baltimore, Maryland – According to information released by the Baltimore Sun, Jason Mattison, Jr.’s accused killer had previously served time for first-degree murder.  Dante L. Parrish, 35, who is accused of raping and murdering the 15-year-old gay boy was convicted of murder in 2000 for a 1999 crime, and had served ten years of a thirty year sentence.  Records show that he had repeatedly appealed his conviction and sentence.  After a judge ruled that his legal counsel at the time of his original murder trial was “ineffective,” Parrish was granted a new trial.  In a plea bargain for second-degree murder in the second trial, he was released from prison in January 2009 for time served, satisfying his sentence.  Parrish was a friend of the family, rooming in the home of Mattison’s aunt on Llewellyn Avenue in East Baltimore, but it is still unknown how long he had lived in the house before allegedly committing the murder.  Mattison was visiting his relatives at the time of the killing, which went undetected until police, who were summoned to the home for a burglary  investigation on Tuesday, November 10 were shown blood oozing out from under a closet door on the second floor of the rowhouse.  There they discovered the gagged, raped, and repeatedly stabbed body of young Mattison buried under a pile of blankets.  The teen had been knifed in the head and throat multiple times with a box cutter found in the house.  Parrish became a suspect right away, and was identified and arrested at a 7-Eleven store in Northeast Baltimore on Thursday, November 12.  Speaking to reporters, Mattison’s cousin, Tara Dudley, said, “I need him to be brought to justice and pay for what he did to my cousin. He needs to pay for what he did to him.”  A spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said on Friday that Parrish has confessed to the crime.  He is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree sex offense, and first-degree assault.  Bail was denied, and Parrish is being held in jail pending what will be his third trial for murder in little over a decade.


November 22, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Maryland, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, rape, stabbings | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Lad’s Accused Killer and Rapist was Convicted Murderer

Transgender Woman Raped, Assaulted with Wooden Coat Hanger in Murder Attempt

trans symbol

Trinidad, CO – The Pueblo Chieftain and the Examiner.com report that on July 15, 2009 a transsexual person was attacked in a hate crime reminiscent of the murder of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman who was bludgeoned to death in Greeley, CO last year.  The victim,  a 25-year-old M to F person in transition was lodging in the Trinidad Motor Inn awaiting consultation on gender reassignment surgery when she was targeted by a suspect identified as Marcus Lee Watlington.  No age or hometown of the suspect has been announced by the Trinidad police.  Police have reported that Watlington denies any part in the crime.  According to reports on the scene, the victim was pushed into her motel room by the attacker after answering her door.  He verbally denigrated her because of her identity, and proceeded to force sex acts on her.  He then raped her, using a wooden coat hanger to assault her sexually.  To finish the job, the attacker then plunged the victim in a full tub of water in the bathroom, and attempted to execute her by tossing an electric hair dryer into tub with her.  The breaker blew, preventing a fatality.  Frustrated in his attempt to murder the victim, the assailant dragged her back to the bed, bound her with a phone cord, slapped her repeatedly, and warned her not to come back to Trinidad because her “kind” were not wanted there.  The victim stayed bound in the bed until she was discovered late the next morning.  Her description of the attacker was detailed, and according to police, fit Watlington “to a T.”  Anti-trans hate crimes are notable for their brutality and for the abject disregard of the humanity of the victim, and transgender persons are particularly vulnerable to anti-gay as well as anti-trans bias, according to the Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CAVP).  If charged with the crime, Watlington would face sexual assault, attempted murder, and “false imprisonment” charges.  The Chieftain noted that Trinidad, which is a center for transsexual reassignment surgery, has a larger than usual population of transgender persons who are drawn to the town because of the famed practice of Dr. Stanley Biber.  The surgical practice, now run by Dr. Marci Bowers, carries out as many as four sexual reassignment surgeries a day, making Trinidad known as “The Sex Change Capital of the World.”  Local police report that crimes against transgender persons are rare in the town of 9,000.  While it is still unclear about whether hate crimes charges will be filed in this case, Colorado does have a hate crime statute that covers anti-transgender crimes.  Allen Ray Andrade, found guilty of the murder of Zapata earlier this year, was sentenced to life in prison by the Colorado hate crimes law, and is believed to be the first person to be successfully prosecuted under such a statute in the United States.  The Unfinished Lives Project awaits further developments in this case.

August 16, 2009 Posted by | Beatings and battery, Colorado, drowning, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, transgender persons, transphobia, women | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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