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Three gay men attacked in separate incidents in Columbus over past four days

Monday, June 10, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three gay men have been attacked in Columbus over the last four days, and LGBT advocates are warning people to be extra cautious in a month that celebrates pride and openness.

On Thursday, an out-of-town visitor who was smoking outside the Southbend Tavern, a gay bar in the city’s Merion Village neighborhood, was punched and kicked until he was unconscious by at least two men who had asked him for help starting their car.

Late Sunday, an employee walking home from Union, a bar and restaurant in the popular Short North area, was beaten near Summit Street in Italian Village. A gay man also was attacked and robbed early Monday in the Olde Towne area of Columbus; he posted a photo of his bloodied head on Facebook, along with a warning: “It sounds like hate crimes are back, boys and girls.”

WCPO-TV
Chris Ashcraft

“There are creeps out there, and they don’t like us,” said Gloria McCauley, executive director of BRAVO, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization.

Sgt. Richard Weiner, a spokesman for Columbus Police, said Southbend patrons reported the incident there late last week. Christopher Ashcraft told officers he was approached by several men who asked for a jump-start.

Ashcraft, who was visiting Columbus from Crescent Springs, Ky., told a Cincinnati TV station that he got a friend’s keys and went to help the men but was attacked.

“Once I was on the ground, they just kicked me in the face a couple times until I was unconscious. It was my guess an hour to an hour-and-a-half later before I woke up and, from what I’m told, crawled back to the bar where I was found laying behind the bar.”

Although Ashcraft told Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV that he’s certain his attack was a hate crime, Weiner said the victim didn’t share that thought with Columbus police and didn’t indicate that the attackers used anti-gay language. The men did steal his wallet.

McCauley said BRAVO classifies some incidents as “bias crimes.” Areas around LGBT bars are targeted, she said, because of old stereotypes that LGBT people are easy prey, that they won’t fight back, that they’ll be too frightened to call police.

Chris Kratavil, the Union employee who was attacked on his way home from work, was still being treated at the hospital late Monday afternoon but was expected to be released soon, said Robert Younkman, a friend who manages Axis Nightclub.

He was punched from behind and then beaten and kicked, Younkman said.

“He has a black belt,” Younkman said. “If it had been a fair fight, it would have been a little more interesting. They would have picked the wrong little gay boy to pick on.”

Kratavil has spoken both to Columbus Police and BRAVO, Younkman said. He didn’t tell his friend whether his attackers said anything anti-gay, but Younkman said they didn’t rob him.

Friends posted photos of Kratavil, bloodied and bruised, on Facebook, and dozens have left messages of love and support.

David Conley, the victim of the third attack, said he called 911 as a group of men approached him from behind, and he was on the phone with the dispatcher as they hit him with a 2-by-4. Police arrived quickly and arrested three men. Conley said the men made vulgar comments as they approached that indicated an anti-gay bias.

In another incident, WSYX-TV reported that Exile, a gay bar at 893 N 4th St in Italian Village, was broken into just after employees left late Wednesday. A single burglar stole $9,000 from an ATM, cash registers and lockers.

The physical attacks come as LGBT people in Columbus are in the midst of a month of social, cultural and educational events — as well as special bar nights — to celebrate and observe Pride.

BRAVO’s McCauley said our happy time, though, gets anti-gay people fired up, too. Such incidents aren’t unexpected, she said.

“It’s not all that unusual. It’s June,” McCauley said. “We’re so out and proud in June, and people are out there who don’t like it.”

She gave the following safety tips:

  • Carry a whistle. It’ll get attention quick and perhaps scare off would-be attackers.
  • Don’t walk alone, and hit the bars with a “designated walker.” We make a smart choice not to drive for a night out, she said, but we’re also less aware of our surroundings when we walk around, as McCauley put it, “happy.” Someone in your group should stay sober.
  • Be cautious, even inside the bars. “Don’t take for granted that just because they’re in a gay club that their motives are good,” she said.
© Outlook Columbus. An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

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52 more reader comments:

  1. this is the young man who was attacked outside a gay bar 2 1/2 blocks away from my house… :-(

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:29pm
  2. than kthepat robertsons and the ilk rallying the haters homophobes bigots and weirdos…hate is a chrisitan value

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:29pm
  3. so bad

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:30pm
  4. do we need to start caring guns ???? time to fight back ??

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:33pm
  5. “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.~Mahandras Ghandi.
    By my account, we are between the third and last stage. I would imagine, by their account, we are too!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:34pm
  6. I live in Columbus and it’s the first I’ve heard about it. There has been nothing about it on the news.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:35pm
  7. … OBVIOUSLY Bloomberg-DOESN’T-care!!!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:35pm
  8. So Sad

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:35pm
  9. Philip,hate is not a value of all Christians.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:37pm
  10. We need an armed LGBT population and this shit will halt. You put a few of these clowns in the dirt and they will have to back off or face violent response.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:39pm
  11. Try muslims–they are the most homophobic and are attacking gays throughout the world. Stop bashing Christians!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:40pm
  12. This is in Ohio, not NYC!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:40pm
  13. isn’t that what this is for? to make the news known.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:41pm
  14. :(

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:41pm
  15. wtf

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:42pm
  16. this upsets me to see someone beat someone up beause of who they love. when will this stoped. our lgbt group in pa tells us to watch ourselves outside our club. this is the fear we live with and it gets old

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:46pm
  17. this is so sad…

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:49pm
  18. It may not be a Christian value, but Christians indulge in it, and use their warped out understanding of the Bible to justify this behavior. Please don’t make such excuses for them. What happened under the guise of Christian values is downright criminality. They are no better than fanatics of any other religious cult, I will not mention names.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:51pm
  19. It is not Muslims in Ohio that are attacking the LGBTQ community, and it is not Muslims in the United States that are attacking the LGBTQ community. While I agree Christian bashing solves nothing, neither does throwing the Muslims to the wolves.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:51pm
  20. Hell where I now live (for the time being) The City where I am now at/living will not even pass a hate crime bill to protect the LGBT Community- And here in Idaho it sucks that it is about Fucking religion(s) or peoples ignertant ways when all we ask for is to be treated Equally like everyone else is this so wrong?? I would say fuck no, Its either Write Wing movenments who are so narrow minded just like people push there fucking religons on those who are NOT fucking Christain* but of another faith, Then you have the fucking Republicans who think there ways is “hollyer than though” its no wonder why this Fucking Country is going to shit** All we want is Peice and to live like Equals******** the LGBT communitys don’t ask to be breated like shit..so Wake up People Fix what is left in this country before it is too late for all of us—all we want is Equality–Equality—get it????????? I hope the fuck so,,thanks for your time**

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:52pm
  21. I have to say … It may not be a christian value , but it is coming from a christian religion !

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:56pm
  22. Raphael,no one is making excuses for anyone. I’m just stating a fact that all Christians are not hate filled and so you should not be judging us in a hate filled manner. I agree that a lot of people use their warped understanding of the bible to judge others and that is not what it’s all about. Jesus preached love,forgiveness and grace. He would be ashamed of how a lot Christians act today.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 5:59pm
  23. Obviously Ed is a religious bigot. People claiming to belong to both those religions indulge in this violent behavior. Why don’t you tell them to stop bashing us with their propaganda, hateful religious leaders, & homophobic politicians?

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:01pm
  24. Open season

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:06pm
  25. Sick!!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:10pm
  26. The haters have run out of arguments all they have left is violence.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:10pm
  27. such a shame….this day and age people are still full of hatred. I hope they ask God for help and forgiveness or just turn themselves in to police.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:12pm
  28. As long as the right considers the members of the LGBT community second class citizens we will continue to see these attacks!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:14pm
  29. The Episcopal Church is pro-gay. Several other Christian Churches are as well.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:16pm
  30. We need a group….like Guardian Angels….to serve as helpers to the law enforcement agencies in these areas….to escort, observe, notify police and testify in court….PFLAG…..volunteers…!!!.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:18pm
  31. Gays need to start carrying guys …. a bullet between the eyes of an attacker will stop them dead cold!

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:30pm
  32. This type of shit pisses me off

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:30pm
  33. sad day

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:37pm
  34. bigotry is alive and well….so sad

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:57pm
  35. Unacceptable.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 7:07pm
  36. red state Christians can be evil as satan himself

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 7:08pm
  37. Pack heat

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 7:12pm
  38. Attacking people for something that doesn’t affect you. Why.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 7:37pm
  39. Time for a radical version on the ‘Pink Patrol” again?

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 7:45pm
  40. … Ooopsie!?! You’re-CORRECT.

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 8:46pm
  41. :-(

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 8:54pm
  42. The next stage will be for us to FIGHT BACK against Violence ! Physically and Literally if necessary !

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 8:55pm
  43. It is a sad state of affairs…

    Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 11:11pm
  44. I live in Columbus, Ohio. This really pisses me off. This city is generally very accepting of all people, but there’s always someone (or mutliple someones) that have to go and ruin it by being cruel and hateful just because they’ . I just don’t know how people like that sleep at night. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 12:09am
  45. FCK HOMOPHOBIA!!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 12:16am
  46. I think the advice shared in the article is very good. Have a friend with you, CARRY A WHISTLE. NOW THAT THESE FELONY CRIMES ON A PERSON (3 TO BE EXACT) HAVE BEEN COMMITTED, POLICE OFFICERS/CONSTABLES/COPS MUST BE AVAILABLE IN THESE AREAS ON FOOT PATROL, TO KEEP THE PEACE, PLEASE OHIO.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 1:37am
  47. that’s just sick and sad “warning people to be extra cautious in a month that celebrates pride and openness!”

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 1:52am
  48. no

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 2:21am
  49. We are appalled at another cowardly act of violence against our people and ask our people to be on guard and keep watch on our own community, never walk alone in secluded areas, even in familiar areas take a friend or group. If driving lock your car doors and be wary and cautious of your surroundings and isolated areas.
    We hope that these victims of abuse recover as best they can and send our deep concern and love to each one.

    The escalation of anti equality rhetoric from prominent leaders and persons have led to hysterical hate and violence and we appeal again to those entrusted to ‘Serve and Protect’ the police authorities and courts, do just that! ‘Serve and Protect’ our community without bias or discrimination please. ;o(

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 2:50am
  50. Need to bring back the Purple Panthers. Either that or Anonymous needs to get cracking.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 3:31am
  51. So many straight men are insecure about their own sexuality that they beat up out gay men. Most beater are men that had gay sex but can not accept themself.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 5:45am
  52. Disgusting!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 6:04am