Gay student attacked in Montana, spurring calls for hate-crimes bill
An openly gay student at Carroll College, a Roman Catholic school in Helena, Mont., has told school officials that he was knocked unconscious and beaten in his dorm room on January 17, officials confirmed Friday. The 22-year-old student, who was not identified by name, has withdrawn from the school. He first told school officials about the incident nearly a week after the attack. I think the fear factor was weighing heav[il]y on him, and he was afraid that if it became a public investigation, his attackers would seek further retribution, said Bob Pastoor, vice president for school affairs. Pastoor said that the attacker wrote Die fag on the students body and that cuts on the students eye required surgery. In my conversation with him yesterday, he said he was healing, Pastoor said Friday. I dont believe hes under any further medical care. On Saturday Democratic legislators and civil rights leaders held a news conference to call for the revival of a hate-crimes bill that would include gays and lesbians. I thought it was a moral imperative for years, but now its a matter of safety, said senate minority leader Steve Doherty. A bill that would have added sexual orientation to the list of categories covered by the states existing hate-crimes law was tabled by the house judiciary committee last week on an 119 vote. State representative Jeff Mangan said that when an incident like this happens in Montana--and we know theyve happened before, theres no denying that--it makes us pull together...and think maybe this is the year.