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Nebraska

More than 500 gather for vigil for lesbian brutalized in home invasion

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Update: 7/23/12: Lincoln police have now classified the attack as a hate crime due to the victim’s sexual orientation.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Over 500 people gathered on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol Sunday night to hold a vigil for a lesbian woman brutalized early Sunday morning in what local LGBT activists are calling a hate crime.

According to Lincoln, Neb., Police Captain Joe Wright, patrol officers responded to an address two blocks south of Lincoln High School in the downtown area, for a reported assault and house fire.

More than 500 people gather on the steps of the State Capitol in Lincoln, Neb. Sunday.

The victim, whose name has not been released, told officers that she had been attacked earlier that morning by three masked men who barged into her house, bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties, cut her all over her body and carved homophobic slurs into her skin before dumping gasoline on her floor and lighting it with a match.

A friend described the cuts as “things carved on her body that can only be described as hate, that somebody can only be taught and we need to stop teaching it.”

A source to LGBTQ Nation said “the words ‘cunt,’ ‘fag’ and ‘dyke’ were carved onto her face and body, and that the assailants tried to set her house on fire.”

Lincoln fire department arson investigator Damon Robbins, told the local media that there was evidence that a match flame ignited vapors from a pool of gasoline on the woman’s floor, but the flash fire did not continue to burn and caused no noticeable damage to the house.

Friends said the men who assaulted her also spray painted anti-gay words in her basement, including “We found u dyke.” Friends called the attack a hate crime because the woman assaulted is a lesbian.

“When someone takes the time to handcuff someone with a zip tie and carve derogatory comments or words into somebody else’s body, that’s sheer hate and at this point, this is a hate crime,” the friend said.

Anti-gay epithets were scrawled on the basement walls.

“Our hearts go out to the victim, her family and close friends,” said Tyler Richard, president of Outlinc, a group that supports LGBT people in Lincoln. “Many in our community are understandably experiencing a great deal of sadness, anger and confusion. We look to our entire community to pull together in this difficult time, ” he said.

The assault has sparked outrage in Lincoln’s LGBT community, which is already galvanized by the ongoing debate over the city’s fairness amendment — a proposal to ban discrimination in housing and employment based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure is now on a ballot referendum for this November.

Karen Bratton-Cranford, president of the LGBT advocacy group Star City Pride, took the microphone at Sunday night’s vigil to urge those gathered to act with respect and to refrain from seeking revenge, reported the Lincoln Star-Journal.

“Don’t go out and act on your own,” she said. “Don’t give them the power to control your actions.”

Police have not yet ruled the attack a hate crime, and Lincoln’s Police Chief Jim Peschong, refused to comment, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

Officials told LGBTQ Nation late Sunday evening that no arrests had been made. The victim has been treated for her wounds and is staying with friends.

Nebraska has a hate crimes statute that covers crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. Federal authorities also may have jurisdiction over the crime as a result of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Update, 7/23/12:

Lincoln police have now classified the attack as a hate crime due to the victim’s sexual orientation.

“I don’t want to minimize this and make it a political issue, because it was a horrible thing that happened in our community, and it saddens me that this happened,” City Councilmen Carl Eskridge told LGBTQ Nation on Monday. “It is because of events like this we need to pass the fairness ordinance, and that is why I introduced it.”

“It’s critically important that we find a common voice, for all of us to come together to improve the community,” he said.

Fred Sainz, Vice President of Communications for the Human Rights Campaign, called the attack “a jarring reminder that we have much work to do in creating environments where all members of our community feel safe living honestly and openly, and where crimes motivated by one’s sexual orientation or gender identity are never tolerated.”

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35 more reader comments:

  1. What a horrible horrible story…… The world is full of closed minded individual jerks. Hopefully whom ever did it is caught and castrated

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:11pm
  2. How can a human being be so cruel? I had problems being gay and got the crap beat outta me but omg This makes me thankful that that was all that happened to me. My heart and prayers go out to her and her family. and to those of you that teach your children to hate in such a way…well if it wouldn’t be stooping to your level I would say you deserve the exact same fate but gays and lesbians are above hate and intolerance (at least you should be) this makes me completely sick to my stomach.

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:15pm
  3. I Know A Perfect Way To Stop All The Attack’s On Our Brother’s & Sister’s…We All Better Start Carryin’ Colt’s On Our Hip’s & Winchester’s In Our Hand’s….Then We’ll Teach Them Hater’s A Lesson They’ll Never Forget…!!!.

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:18pm
  4. OMG..that is just depraved..I don’t think I accurately describe how this makes me feel :-( My heart and prayers are with the victim of this atrocity

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:18pm
  5. So the police aren’t yet labeling this a ‘hate crime’ – Seriously? Just what about what was done to her do they NOT seem to ‘get’?? Give me a break!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:33pm
  6. I am struggling to develop my spirituality but stuff like this can really make me backslide. Lord please help me not to have to hurt these homophobic homosapiens cuz I don’t wanna go to jail.

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:41pm
  7. Simply don’t know what’s more disturbing, the horrific assault or that “Police have not yet ruled the attack a hate crime”. Do they need more evidence…?

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:45pm
  8. They fear=hate what they don’t understand; they learn it from their families. That’s where it starts.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 12:00am
  9. In all these cases have noticed that when the lesbian looks like a man then attack happens but when they are gorgeous then no attack

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 4:12am
  10. i am new to this circle. im sorry to hear of such vulgar attacks.PlEase upload my 2 min doc/equality.”love is blind”.peace

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 4:27am
  11. heartbreaking :’( i am from nebraska originally & was planning a trip “home” but this really scares me…my heart goes out to her & her family…our prayers go out to them & our community…it is true this hate is taught by so many people from homes to churches & we have to work together to stop the insanity…my own mother does not even speak to me because i am gay…close-mindedness is heartbreaking…if there is anything i can help with please email…

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 4:27am
  12. So sad!! Awful! Karma is a bitch and I hope they get everything they deserve!!

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 6:55am
  13. Appalling. An act as cowardly as it was hateful and unwarranted. I hope she’s doing all right–as well as she can, at least, given the circumstances.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 6:56am
  14. It’s really beyond belief that “so called” Christians are the one who are preaching hate. This leads to what happened. Why can’t these people mind their own business and live and let live. These people have a right to live their life as they want to , the same as the devils who preach hate and violence. How can they hide behind religion?

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 7:45am
  15. Sick, hateful, disgusting. If this is not a hate crime what is??

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 7:56am
  16. As a straight Christian from Nebraska, let me just put it out there that EVERY person who calls themselves a Christian should be appalled by what happened to this lady! Jesus doesn’t teach hate He teaches love! Agree or don’t agree with a lifestyle. That’s a person’s prerogative, but hate is hate and you can’t clean it up and call it God’s will!

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 9:24am
  17. Terrible…

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:15am
  18. took em long enuff

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:15am
  19. Thats just wrong….i hope they are caught

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:20am
  20. They are collecting donations to help pay her medical expenses …

    http://starcitypride.org/victim-recovery-fund/

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:22am
  21. Omg bless her heart. I can’t understand anyone ever hating someone like that that they don’t even know over something so trivial as her sexual orientation. They should be drawn and quartered.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:23am
  22. Us gay people need to stop the hate among ourselves and start, fighting back against this crap

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:25am
  23. so sad </3 :'-(

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:28am
  24. I think it’s high time we the GLBT community start coordinating CHL classes and self-defense classes at our resource centers/community centers.
    …this shit is just out of hand. #LIVID

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:31am
  25. So happy to hear they are making this a hate crime.Even though it was pretty obvious this woman can now get taken seriously.I hope she recovers well.My thoughts and prayers go out to her.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:41am
  26. Anyone who can do this to another human being just because they don’t agree with their sexual preference is a sick sick person. This person has not interferred with their way of life. If they think they are going to save the world, they are greatly mistaken. The only thing they are going to do is bring themselves down. They have already done that and they wlll pay. Wonder if they think it was worth it.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:45am
  27. Taylor Dawn Ramirez :O!!! <xxx3

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:48am
  28. I don’t get why classifying this as a “hate” crime was ever in doubt. I hope the monsters get to spend the rest of their lives in prison. They should never get out!

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:52am
  29. D’:!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:56am
  30. they say what goes around comes around i hope those monsters get everything comin to them.all my prayers go out to the lady that was hurrt.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 11:48am
  31. Amen

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 12:16pm
  32. As anyone who knows me knows better, I’m all about getting back to basics when it comes to things like this. I’m all for rounding up anyone who had an iota of involvement and literally tarring and feathering them and turn them loose in the waiting arms of the crowd. Not kill them outright, but you know, give them a healthy dose of humility and make an example of them too.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 1:18pm
  33. I know to everyone it was *obvious* it was a hate crime, but im still glad they took precautions not to state it right away and went through all the correct procedures and processes. Now we can be assured that the case will be handled correctly and hopefully she will see some sort of justice.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 1:36pm
  34. this is just sad. hope the bastards that did this get their just deserves.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 1:36pm
  35. she was my neighbor, an amazing lady and amazing friend…she does not have medical insurnace and will need help by donations for her emergency room bills and scar treaments

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 1:54pm