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Attack on gay teen caught on video; mother seeking hate crime charges


Update, 10/28: Authorities and school officials said the video evidence surfaced after the school’s initial investigation, and was not previously known to exist. Story here.

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The mother of a 15-year-old gay teen who was brutally attacked because he is gay, is seeking to have hate crime charges brought against her son’s assailant.

The beating, captured on video using a cell phone, was later posted to Facebook by the assailant, reported WSYX-TV in Columbus.

The video shows the attacker waiting for the boy before throwing a series of punches and then violently beating him to the ground after a desperate attempt by the youth to get away from the assailant.

Both boys are students at Union-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, where the attack occurred.

According to WSYX-TV, the attacker posted anti-gay remarks on the victim’s Facebook page two days prior to the attack. The victim’s mother described the beating, a copy of which was broadcast by WSYX.

“The boy stood there and waited on him, and waited on him, and waited on him,” Rebecca Collins, the victim’s mother, told WSYX-TV.

“And then as soon as he walks in the door, the boy hits him. The victim walks away saying, ‘What did I do? Why are you doing this?’ And he keeps walking away.”

The video shows the assailant grab the victim, stand over him and deliver at least seven punches in quick succession, the smacks audible on the video.

(The video of the attack has been blurred so as not to reveal the identity of the assailant or victim). Watch:

Collins said that her son might have a concussion and chipped teeth, and that she wants that attack pursued as a “hate crime.” She is certain the attack was motivated by her son being gay.

“I was waiting for somebody,” said the victim. “I covered myself, I shielded my body, and he just kept hitting me and nobody did anything.”

“It’s my son,” his mother said, “and they did it just because he’s a homosexual.”

According to Collins, the student who attacked her son was given a three-day suspension.

Equality Ohio Executive Director, Ed Mullen, stated the incident is indicative of violence experienced or feared by LGBT students every day.

“Union-Scioto has no policy in place that specifically protects students from being bullied or attacked based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Mullen said.

“The Union-Scioto Local School District does have a policy that prohibits harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, among others, but it does not specifically protect against harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” he added.

Mullen said that “all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to a safe school and education. Students should not fear verbal harassment, cyber-bullying, or physical assault in our public schools.”

An anti-bullying bill is pending in Ohio’s legislature. Ohio House Bill 208 would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and other enumerated protections to Ohio’s anti-bullying law without changing the general prohibition against any bullying or harassment.

Proponents of the bill are seeking testimony in the House Education Committee, according to Equality Ohio, but the bill has not been a priority of the committee.

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