Will this Maryland Man Face Hate Crime Charges?
A 20-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and theft for stabbing a gender-variant person after the two engaged in a sex act. The victim's name has not been released, but several news sources — including The Washington Post — have reported that the victim, 41, was "a man who was dressed as a woman." It is unknown if the victim identifies as transgender.
According to WUSA9, Christian Ariel Romero stabbed the victim after the two agreed to engage in a sex act in exchange for money. After arriving at the victim's home and engaging in the act, Romero allegedly stabbed the victim several times, stole the victim's cell phone and fled the scene.
Police responded to the victim's home in Silver Spring, Md., in the early hours of Sunday morning. Paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital, where the injuries sustained were pronounced non-life-threatening.
Romero returned to the victim's home to apologize that afternoon and neighbors called police. Romero admitted to officers on the scene that he had stabbed the victim "after realizing he was a man posing as a woman," according to WUSA9.
Thus far, Maryland police have not charged Romero with a hate crime, but given Romero's admission that he attacked the victim over gender identity or expression, Romero could face federal hate crime charges under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.