This past May, Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were attacked on a bus in London by young men who wanted to see them kiss. The teens threw coins at them and then punched the women when they didn’t accede to their demands.
The horrific attack got international attention in the press and was condemned by the mayor of London, and four teenage boys – ages 15, 16, 17, and 17 – were arrested in connection to the attack. Charges have been dropped against one of the 17-year-olds.
Now the 16-year-old has gotten off without any prison time.
The three boys were all facing a charge of harassment as a hate crime due to the group’s homophobic gestures and statements, like disparagingly saying “oh lesbians” and “do you scissor?”
The Evening Standard reports that all three of the alleged attackers pleaded guilty to targeting the women before their trial was set to start last month.
The 16-year-old faced an extra charge of harassment and theft because he stole a purse from one of the victims and handled her cell phone.
But he’s walking away with eight months of community service and 120 pounds ($156) in fines and fees.
Attorney Andrew Mooney said that the 16-year-old wasn’t shouting homophobic slurs like the others were. The teen also said that he understands that he hurt the women and wants to “show them that’s not the person I am.”
The 17-year-old initially denied any involvement in the attack, but the judge – who reviewed security camera footage – rejected his claim. He was given a four month youth rehabilitation order, which can involve various punishments.
The women said in a Facebook post in June that they were identified as queer because they kissed each other on the bus, and prosecutor Maria Slater agreed that they were targeted after being “affectionate towards each other.”
“I am feeling so angry and upset right now, I am feeling a strong pain,” Geymonat said in a statement.
“She believed that this only happened because she is a lesbian and because they were lone females at night,” the prosecutor said.
The 15-year-old will be sentenced next week.