News (World)

Parents & brother beat 16-year-old boy after he came out. They avoided prison.

Man beaten in street
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A 16-year-old boy in the U.K. said he feared for his life as his parents and older brother beat him after he came out to them as gay.

The Blackburn Magistrates Court in North West England heard the case earlier this week. According to the Lancashire Telegraph, the victim, whose name has not been made public, said that his parents told him he “could be changed” and enlisted his brother in the beating.

“At the time he told his mum he was scared, but she ignored him,” said prosecutor Saleema Chaudhry. “He said he is not sure his parents knew what they were doing was wrong.”

The victim, who is of South Asian descent, said he had believed he could have a good relationship with his parents after coming out. According to his victim impact statement, following the incident he feared his family would continue to use violence towards him if he hadn’t moved away from the area. He is now in foster care.

“He was sad about what happened but is happy he has now been accepted for what he is,” Chaudhry said.

The prosecution told the court that the offenses against the boy were both homophobic and represented an honor crime. Both parents and brother pleaded guilty to assaulting the victim.

The parents’ lawyer, Aftab Bakhat, claimed that the boy’s physical injuries were minor.

“What is clear from the pre-sentence reports is that they both have entrenched views which need to be tackled,” he said. “Their son has come out as gay and they have reacted in a horrible, nasty, and violent way which is going to psychologically scar their own son.”

The brother’s lawyer, Peter King, claimed that the older sibling was drawn into the assault by his parents out of a sense of loyalty but admitted that he also felt a responsibility to look after his younger sibling.

“On the day he chose to support his parents, not because he thought his brother was adopting the wrong way forward, but out of loyalty,” King said.

Judge Alex Boyd said the assault charges were aggravated by hostility towards the victim because of his sexual orientation and sentenced all three defendants to a community order. Each was ordered to pay a £114 ($137) victim surcharge and £100 ($121) in court costs. They also received a restraining order prohibiting them from contacting the victim for 18 months.

The father was sentenced to 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and the mother to 20 days. Both were ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. The brother was ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 80 hours of community service.

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