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Lesbian couple attacked by neighborhood youth in alleged hate crime

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — A lesbian couple in southeastern Missouri is recovering from an alleged attack by three neighborhood youths in what the couple claims is hate crime motivated by the sibling’s discrimination of their sexual orientation.

Jeana Terry and Lisa Lange of Cape Girardeau, Mo., said they were attacked on July 24, by three children who live in a house down the street from them, reported the Southeastern Missourian.

Jeana Terry shows the facial injuries she received last week after she said she was beaten by three siblings who live in her neighborhood.

The suspects — two girls, ages 16 and 13, and their 11-year-old brother — were taken into custody in the Mississippi County Regional Juvenile Detention Center, and charged with assault and burglary.

Terry said she was resting in her living room with Lange when the incident began.

The couple say the teen began shouting slurs at them, as had happened on several other occasions, and they responded by telling her to get off their property. There have been other times in the past several months, the couple said, that they have told the children’s parents that they were concerned with anti-gay slurs coming from the children. But no physical threats had happened until now.

The couple say the 16-year-old girl brought her younger brother onto the couple’s porch and pulled Terry outside when she opened the door, then began hitting her. The fight was then joined, Terry said, by the 13-year-old sister and two friends, who neighbors say were summoned by the oldest girl by phone just before the commotion began. Neighbors said the two friends were able to get away before police arrived. They are not in custody.

Terry showed bruises on her arms from where she said the 16-year-old “grabbed me and swung me around,” resulting in Terry falling to the ground.

“Once I was down, it was pure chaos,” Terry said, as she described how she felt as she said she was repeatedly hit and kicked.

Cape Girardeau police spokesman Darin Hickey wouldn’t comment on the specific location where police made contact with the children in response to the call, but did say “they made contact with three juveniles in the area.”

The children’s mother, Nancy Harris, tells a conflicting account of the incident, and said it was the couple who came outside and began arguing with the children.

“Even before this happened they would nitpick at the kids,” Harris said. “Before this there was some arguments and the neighbors would try to provoke them to hit them.”

Missouri statutes define a hate crime as “a criminal offense committed against persons, property or society which is motivated, in whole or in part, by offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin.”

Some misdemeanor offenses, assault included, can be can be raised to a felony under the state statutes. Additionally, the federal government amended the Hate Crime Statistics Act in 2009 to mandate that any crimes that are committed by or against juveniles based on a bias motivation must also be reported as a hate crime.

Andrew Shaughnessy, a spokesman for PROMO, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization, said that as more people throughout the state are coming out and becoming comfortable with who they are, there is a growing need for education about what it means to be LGBT.

The Cape Girardeau incident – if it is determined a hate crime – is a “breakdown in understanding,” Shaughnessy said.

“I think one thing to be said is that LGBT are everywhere,” he said. “They are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and we need to have a greater focus on what that means and how we can all live together.”

Lange said she is worried someone will attempt to make the issue about race — she and Terry are white, the children are black — but she and her partner’s desire to see justice served is not about that, she said.

“It’s about the fact that we are two women who live together and happen to love each other,” she said. “That’s it.”

© The Vital Voice.
An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

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Filed under: Missouri

59 more reader comments:

  1. :(

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:53pm
  2. umm…wow

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:54pm
  3. That’s disgusting.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:54pm
  4. That’s horrible.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:54pm
  5. Its people who do stuff like this that makes me want to take on the world to fight for Our Gay Rights

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:55pm
  6. this is so incredibly sad! my heart goes out to them :(

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:55pm
  7. sad

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:56pm
  8. Did they all smell like chicken nuggets?

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:56pm
  9. Why are people liking the status? I don’t understand.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:56pm
  10. Those kids need to be taught a major lesson and pay for this dearly. They did the crime now do the time. No matter what their age.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:56pm
  11. Wtf!! That’s ignorant people. Horrible :/

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:57pm
  12. Sad.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:57pm
  13. Horrible..when will these people learn?

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:59pm
  14. I cant believe this, the hate… Outrages.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:59pm
  15. And mom sounds like a real winner to boot, couldn’t have been her angels going on what she taught them…

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:59pm
  16. People are so low..

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 4:59pm
  17. this is so sad. my heart goes out to the couple and anyone else who goes through this i once went thro something like this i was hit by a bat well camping in my tent in my own yard so again my prays are with them

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:00pm
  18. I hope they get a few years in prison.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:00pm
  19. It’s sad when kids show hate like this. Shame on their parents. Look at how she’s making excuses for them!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:00pm
  20. and then they went to church…right???

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:01pm
  21. I don’t care how Young this neighborhood youth is. He should be treated as an adult. If he knows hate he can deal with the consequences. If it was up to me on his punishment. He’d get his ass beat to a pulp!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:03pm
  22. Grrrr

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:04pm
  23. Sad….. I hope this doesn’t turn into an ugly racial incident. Sad, that the mom is blaming the victims, yeah grown ass women are picking fights with children…. Why was this never an issue with the mom untill her kids got arrested?!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:05pm
  24. @ Janice, did you think of your comment all by yourself? If so clever ( NOT) !! I agree with Faith, this is horrible why are people liking this? Anyway some people are ignorant. Sad : (

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:05pm
  25. When In The Damn Hell Will All The Hate Stop…???…When We In The LGBT Community Start Fightin’ Back And Shootin’ All The Damn Hater’s Right Between The Eye’s…!!!.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:07pm
  26. Janice Shelton, what’s that supposed to mean???

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:07pm
  27. It is a hate crime, why is it when white folks are hurt, the fucking authorities can not figure out that it is a hate crime. hate crimes happen all the time, due to the color of a persons skin, their country of origin or sexual orientation. here, when a young white girl was jumped by a gang of black kids, they refused to call it a hate crime. she was innocent and we know her so we know she did nothing to provoke them. A bicyclist was jumped by a gang of black kids and it was not considered a hate crime. These ladies were obviously attacked in a hate crime. I SAY ZERO TOLERANCE FOR HATE CRIMES.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:09pm
  28. This is disgusting. Hate is not born, it is learned. This so called mother sounds like she is a brainless vagrant, but then again I equate all hate-mongers with that. I’m not racist at all, but it seems stupid that her mother is trying to make this about race. Does she forget that what she is promoting and allowed her kids to do were done to people just because they were black?

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:10pm
  29. fucked up shit

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:14pm
  30. We need our own gay country….sheesh!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:14pm
  31. People like a story such as this to get updates on the story, not because they like what happened. Facebook really needs to post this information someplace where everyone can see it. That way people can chill out.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:16pm
  32. i fucking hate this shit, if the youth involved was my kids omg, they would be in deep shit, they would be voluntaring without pay towards some lgbt society organization or something for the rest of the time he/she was living under my roof. if u do not like gay people fucking deal with it, swallow ur pride, bigotry, ignorance and hatred, u fucking prick, how would u like it if someone did that to you because u r straight its the same difference. fucking assholes

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:16pm
  33. @Kristi Parker Thats why Im all for the 2nd Amendment. Time for us to start carrying.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:18pm
  34. But corporations & organizations stating their opinion doesn’t HURT anyone, right? Tell that to this couple…..no one deserves this kind of violence against them

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:20pm
  35. Wow…just, wow.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:20pm
  36. No no no no!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:40pm
  37. So very sad

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:41pm
  38. kids are stupid and only think things like that because of how they were raised and their social community brainwashes them. people are not born that way and kids are just more susceptible to that kind of brainwashing bullshit

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:42pm
  39. It is okay if you don’t agree with someones lifestyle. That’s your right. It’s not okay to verbally harass and physically harm someone. I hope those kids are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. too bad we can’t get the Mother for child abuse or neglect cause she obviously taught those children that their was ok by doing nothing to stop it and then trying to make excuses for them. Even if the couple did come outside and argue with the children and taunt them to hit them it’s still not okay to do so.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:44pm
  40. So fucked up!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:52pm
  41. i have ask this be for are still in the 40′s,50′s,60′s,and so one

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 6:08pm
  42. Dame! That’s messed up

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 6:12pm
  43. This is horrific! Shame on those parents trying to cover this up. Maybe if they taught their children properly these things wouldn’t happen. Pathetic parenting!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 6:35pm
  44. yhat is just wrong whats wrong with people

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 6:47pm
  45. Yup…There is humanity, and then there is insanity…unfortunately, more lean towards insanity…This is inhumane, and they should immediately sterilize those youths so their hatred doesn’t breed….

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:11pm
  46. wow -.-

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:25pm
  47. When is it going to “Stop”

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:38pm
  48. :(

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:39pm
  49. Terrible.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:41pm
  50. hope they’ll be ok

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:49pm
  51. They need to get them..

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 8:30pm
  52. For teenagers, they did quite a number on this woman.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 8:39pm
  53. same kids that go home and jerk off to lesbian porn

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 8:41pm
  54. I dont understand why dont more American gay people beat the shite out of the bastards which attack them. Sometimes, beating is necessary! Maybe it is a cultural thing; we Ukrainians dont mind giving hands on lessons about how to act like a decent human being.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 9:02pm
  55. Their parents probably bought them a Chick-Fil-A meal as a reward.

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 9:31pm
  56. Rush Limbaugh’s home town. Now what are the odds…….

    Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 10:37pm
  57. Hate crime equals what a slap on the hand. Bullshit, when will the hate end? Too much hate in general in this world!!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 12:49am
  58. From my deepest heart and everyone else…we like to say we are very sorry for the person that got attacked ..

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 2:48am
  59. So sad to see one step forward two steps back,hope your feeling better and punish those little bullies !!!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 10:40am