The Corvallis Police Department has arrested three men and charged them with perpetuating a hate crime last month. The assailants stopped in an Oregon 7-Eleven and allegedly beat the clerk, a transgender woman, while calling her slurs and saying other anti-gay and anti-trans statements.
The victim, Charlotte Osieczanek is recovering from broken orbital bones, a fractured sinus wall, and a fractured shoulder, according to a GoFundMe fundraiser on her behalf. Her alleged assailants — Riley Westbrooks, Dylan Guido, and Kyle Rackley — are out on conditional release after being arraigned.
Westbrook and Guido, both 21, are facing charges on suspicion of first-degree bias crime and third-degree assault, and Rackley, 22, faces a charge on suspicion of third-degree assault, according to the Oregonian.
Osieczanek was working at the 7-Eleven overnight on October 24 when the attack took place. The convenience store branch is less than a mile from the campus of Oregon State University, where Osieczanek graduated from and Guido was previously a student at.
Court affadavits show that Westbrooks and Guido, heavily intoxicated, attempted to enter the 7-Eleven without a mask, which was against the store’s COVID-19 protocols. When Osieczanek asked them to leave the store, they did go outside but remained on the property, drinking in the parking lot with Rackley. With a mask that another customer gave to him, Guido tried to re-enter the store, but Osieczanek denied him entry again.
Osieczanek eventually asked the trio to leave the parking lot, and Westbrooks and Guido began yelling “gender-related slurs,” the Corvallis Gazette-Times’ review of the affidavits found.
When she persisted that they leave, the argument turned physical, and the three men claim that Osieczanek “forcefully shoved” them first. Their version of events vary, but all three denied hitting Osieczanek to police at different points, but Guido and Westbrooks acknowledged that they did hit her, but only after she temporarily knocked Westbrooks unconscious.
The three men fled the scene, while it was Osieczanek who stayed and called emergency services.
In the GoFundMe, a friend named Matt Keuneke says that “The men who attacked her spewed hateful transphobic and queerphobic rhetoric throughout the attack.”
Osieczanek “was severely injured and taken to the hospital for two nights to treat two broken orbital bones around each eye and a fractured shoulder,” Keuneke explained.
In a subsequent update, Osieczanek herself wrote on the fundraiser’s page that she is “laying low as to make sure the investigation is handled properly.”
In addition to the skeletal injuries, Osieczanek also has bruised knees and ribs, and “the cherry to top it all of is that I did test COVID positive while in the ER, but I am asymptomatic, vaccinated, and everyone that I was in close proximity has tested negative!”
Meanwhile, the fundraiser for her has raised over $17,300 as of this article’s writing. “There are no words in the English language that can convey my gratitude that Corvallis and all of you have shown me,” Osieczanek wrote. “This is humbling beyond belief and so very thankful that there are people that care about me and the LGBTQ+ community.”
The assailants, meanwhile, were apprehended together in nearby Roseburg on November 4. The Corvallis Police apparently received identifying information from the public that led them to the three men. They will return to court tentatively on December 9.
“Corvallis PD takes all cases of hate and violence seriously and our officers and detectives have been working on this case since it was reported,” Police Chief Nick Hurley stated. “We extend our thanks to the members of the community who stood up to hate and assisted us in identifying the individuals involved in this case.”
Oregon State University spokesperson Steven Clark said, “We continue to be very dismayed and saddened by this attack. Violence of any sort, against any individual, and certainly against individuals of a transgender or non-binary status, is antithetical to everything this university stands for.”
Other trans people in the community are condemning Oregon State and other organizations for “performative” response to the attack.
“I think that people really like to come out and support us when there’s a crisis, but they don’t want to support us through our daily struggle,” Dharmakrishna Mirza said to the Albany Democrat-Herald. “People need to support us while we’re alive before we experience that type of violence.”
Mayor Biff Traber has pledged that “Bias crimes and bias incidents are not tolerated in Corvallis,” as scrutiny over a bias crime response initiative adopted last year that is still being implemented increases.