NEW YORK — The reputed leader of a New York City street gang has pleaded guilty in a beating authorities called one of the worst cases of anti-gay violence in the city’s history.
Idelfonso Mendez admitted Thursday to gang assault, but not to any hate crime charges. He agreed to a 14-year prison term.
The 26-year-old Mendez and several other men were accused of beating and torturing two teens and a man in 2010 because the attackers believed the victims were gay. Five others also have pleaded guilty.
The suspects, ranging in age from 16 to 23 at the time of the attack, lured a gang recruit, a 17-year-old male they suspected was gay, into an unoccupied apartment on Oct. 3, 2010. “He was beaten and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger,” according to then-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The attackers shouted anti-gay slurs during the attack, he said.
In the subsequent attacks, the gang members allegedly lured another 17-year-old victim, and a 30-year-old man to the same apartment with a story that there was a party there. The gang believed that both teens had gay encounters with the older male.
The 30-year-old victim was reportedly stripped, beaten and sodomized with a small baseball bat, according to police.
Mendez said he took “full responsibility for everything that happened,” though he said he was high on drugs when police questioned him and many statements attributed to him weren’t true.
The Bronx district attorney’s office says the victims wanted to avoid testifying at a trial.
The attackers were all members of the Latin King Goonies street gang.