In Boston last week a gay man alleged that he was attacked by a group of teenage girls because of his sexuality.
This weekend another gay man from the Boston area claimed he was attacked and the sexualities of his three assailants -- they were all lesbians -- and the fact that the incident has been labeled a hate crime is raising eyebrows.
According to the Boston Herald, prosecutor Lindsey Weinstein says the three women, two sisters, Erika Stroud, 21, of Dorchester and Felicia Stroud, 18, and Lydia Sanford, one of the sisters' domestic partners, attacked the man on Sunday at the Forrest Hills "T" station in Jamaica Plains and were "repeatedly punching and kicking him after he bumped them with his backpack on a stairwell."
Weinstein added that the victim, who suffered a broken nose, believed the assault was “motivated as a crime because of his sexual orientation” since the three women “called him insulting homophobic slurs.”
However, attorneys for the three women charged with the hate crime disagree.
Attorney Helene Tomlinson told the judge that Sanford is “openly identified as a lesbian ... so any homophobic (conduct) is unwarranted" and claimed the alleged victim provoked the women by using racial slurs.
Felicia Stroud’s attorney, C. Harold Krasnow, said, “They don’t know what his sexual orientation is, just like he doesn’t know what theirs is.”
The Boston Herald notes that Krasnow also believes the low bail, $100 to $500 cash, set by the judge "suggested the prosecution's case was weak."
The ACLU of Massachusetts is siding with prosecutors. “Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic,” ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch said. “The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.”
And Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, is confident prosecutors will be able to prove the alleged assault was a hate crime regardless of the assailants' sexualities.
“The defendants’ particular orientation or alleged orientations have no bearing on our ability to prosecute for allegedly targeting a person who they believe to be different from them,” he said.