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Lesbian says she was the victim of a hate crime after defending bullied boy

Friday, March 1, 2013

MESQUITE, Texas — A Texas woman claims she is the victim of a hate crime after she was attacked in an elementary school playground for protecting a bullied four-year-old boy.

The attack left Sondra Scarber, 27, with a shattered jaw that’s been wired shut, and a is badly swollen and bruised face.

Sondra Scarber (Courtesy: WFAA-TV)

“I can’t do anything for myself,” she said through tears.

Scarber said that she and her girlfriend Hillary Causey, 26, had taken Causey’s four-year-old son out to play at the playground when a scuffle broke out between Causey’s son and some older children.

Scarber had asked one of the other children who was bigger to leave Causey’s son alone when one of the other parents stepped in. The women told police officials that the man became angry when he realized that Scarber, who wears her hair short and dresses in nondescript baggy clothes, was female and that the couple are lesbians.

“When he walked up thinking it was father and mom with the kid, he wasn’t as angry,” said Causey, in an interview with WFAA-TV. “But then when he figured out she [Scarber] was a female, he got like super pissed, and I don’t know why.”

Causey said the man punched and kicked Scarber repeatedly, hurling homophobic slurs at her while she lay on the ground, unconscious.

“He was like, ‘well if you think you’re a man… I’m going to treat you like a man,’” Causey said. “All she kept saying was, ‘I’m a female. I’m a female…’ She never even had time to take her hands out of pockets to try and block herself.”


Mesquite Police Lieutenant Bill Hedgpeth said that investigators are not certain that under Texas statutes the assault qualifies as a hate crime, as the scuffle among children was the initial trigger.

“At this point, we have no indication the assault occurred because of her sexual orientation,” he said adding, “regardless of motive, we want to catch them.”

Based on the women’s account, law enforcement officials are looking for two suspects — the alleged assailant, and the woman he was with.

Scarber and Causey, who have been friends since the third grade, and girlfriends for three years, are convinced the attack was a hate crime, and are frustrated with what they feel is the police department’s lack of urgency with their case.

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30 more reader comments:

  1. Who bullies a freakin 4yr old?!

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 3:54pm
  2. Good for her for standing up for that little boy, so sad she had to suffer from it aswell!

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 3:54pm
  3. Tears.

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 3:56pm
  4. I’m not understanding how it’s not obvious that it was a hate crime.

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 3:56pm
  5. Welcome to Texas!! Now move…. for your own safety!! Gays and lesbians are welcome here in Hawai’i :)

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 3:57pm
  6. after she was attacked she should have grabbed the nearest stick rock chair. and beat the fudge out of her attackers. its time we stop taking it up the ass and fight back.

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:00pm
  7. This kind of stuff makes me sick. It’s ridiculous that our country is still living in fear of those that are different.

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:01pm
  8. This is just heartbreaking and infuriating.

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:02pm
  9. Thanks for standing up for someone else even at risk to yourself(BRAVE)!!

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:03pm
  10. Clearly she is an amazing person and parent! My love goes out to this family!

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:13pm
  11. Horrible. She has a lot of courage and of course parents defend their kids! But I would move out of Texas and go somewhere where they won’t face this kind of crap all their lives.

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:24pm
  12. get the hell out of texas girl!

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:42pm
  13. If she left that only means the person who did this wins…no way Jose! We just have to go after the person responsible and make them pay for the crime…when his children see that it is not right…they will think twice next time

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 4:52pm
  14. U did the right thing helping another human. I am sorry that you were harmed the Law of cause and affect. They will get theirs without u lifting a finger trust me. Any words actions and thoughts is the law of casuality Peace dear friend Nam-myohoho-rengaykeyo Pamela Alviset

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 5:05pm
  15. Not sure this is a hate crime? WTF?! Unfortunately hate is written all over her face!!! My partner & I have a 3 yr old daughter & I would have done the same thing. Bullying needs to stop & hate crimes need to stop!!! I am so sorry this happened to you & I wish you a speedy recovery. (((HUGS))) my sister <3

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 5:07pm
  16. Omg…. I’m so sorry *HUGS*

    Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 7:15pm
  17. Incident here last year: a 17yr old girl was attacked and “gangster stomped” by three men in their early 20′s. Reason? Because she was gay. No arrests made. Our government seriously needs to remember these attacks when they sit and nitpick over which bills they want passed. Politicians use the term “hate crime” when it suits their agenda. Hate crimes towards our LGBT friends and family are legitimized by police departments saying that the motive for such an attack was in question. Come on man! When a perpetrator is spewing slurs during an attack, it’s pretty clear it’s a hate crime. I know that the only way to defeat hate is with love but dammit, I’m still able bodied. Let some POS do something like this while I am around. Equality for ALL or peace for NONE. My prayers go out to this young couple and their little boy.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 7:45am
  18. Deserves Praise.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 3:59pm
  19. thats why its better to get a teacher or member of staff, she interfered, may not even be the childs parent, and attacked the bullies that were kids themselves, and thats all adults saw, as for hate crime dont think so, it may be that adults saw phaedophile, abusing kids, simple mistakes happen so easy. let the police sort it out.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:01pm
  20. She attacked no one.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:04pm
  21. Ailean, the article says they were on a playground, not at a school, and she was acting in defense of her partner’s child. If multiple older kids were ganging up on your 4 year-old, you’d have every right as a parental figure to intervene and protect your child. And since when does homosexuality equate to pedophilia? That mindset, as well as your indifference, is part of the problem.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:15pm
  22. this is sad first what does this teach the kids?! second when is it ok for a man to hit a woman regardless of what she is wearing or looks like?!

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:17pm
  23. Sad that you have to explain things to people who comment, yet are too lazy to read what they’re commenting on.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:21pm
  24. You can always tell when someone hasn’t read the article of upon which they comment.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:23pm
  25. Thats so sad :(

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 5:11pm
  26. Mama’s don’t let your son’s grow up to be:
    Insecure Texas men filled with depraved indifference coupled with a complete lack of self-control & respect. And by all means, don’t allow these mal-adjusted males (I will refrain from calling them ‘men” – men can control themselves) to care take your children in a public place of diversity.

    Based on his actions & comments he should have been arrested for battery; mayhem, assault and charged with a hate crime under the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act

    Then again, this is Texas….
    The State where, until 2003, it was illegal for two consenting adults of the same gender to engage in sexual activity.
    The State, where in 2005, they passed a law refusing to recognize legal, same-sex marriages licensed by other States.
    The same State that will NOT issue a supplemental birth certificate if an adopted child’s parents are of the same sex.
    The same State that ALLOWS employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

    Based on the irresponsible actions of the Mesquite police department who at press time did not find ample cause to file serious criminal charges, it is likely this ‘good ol’ boy’ will strut off scot-free.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 5:33pm
  27. after further reading on this story, perhaps a Hate Crime carries no weight within the Mesquite Police Department. This suspect is in violation of Texas Penal Code Sec. 29.03. AGGRAVATED ROBBERY. (a) A person commits an offense if he commits robbery as defined in Section 29.02, and he:

    (1) causes serious bodily injury to another;

    (2) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon; or

    (3) causes bodily injury to another person or threatens or places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death, if the other person is:

    (A) 65 years of age or older; or
    (B) a disabled person. (b) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.

    (c) In this section, “disabled person” means an individual with a mental, physical, or developmental disability who is substantially unable to protect himself from harm.

    The perpetrator of this heinous assault, after beating the victim unconscious, “stole her earrings, teal Mainers hat, I-Phone 4, which he dropped as he ran from the scene. He choked Sondra with her cross necklace which did not break, and even tried to take her Nike shoes”. Given these circumstances,if the Mesquite PD continues to neglect this case the responding Officers and their superiors should be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an IA investigation for dereliction of duty.

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 5:34pm
  28. That man needs to be put in prison. If the men find out he beat a woman almost to death he will get his butt kicked really bad

    Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 7:26pm
  29. The police obviously are not concerned with enforcing the law. This pathetic excuse of a man beat a woman unconscious while yelling homophobic slurs. How is that not a hate crime? As a lifelong Texan, this doesn’t surprise me at all. My state isn’t exactly known as being progressive when it comes to human rights of any kind. In some areas, the KKK still openly advertises it’s meetings. The only way we’ll ever have equal rights is if the federal government enacts laws requiring the state to do so.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 6:58am
  30. So incredibly sad! Hope he goes to jail!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:21pm