Beaten Massachusetts teen goes home

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 14 2003 11:00 PM ET

Caitlin Meuse, a 16-year-old Concord, Mass., high school student found beaten and unconscious Thursday night in a suspected gay-related hate crime, was released from the hospital Sunday after spending two days in intensive care.

"She is still pretty dinged up; her lips are still swollen," her father, Carl Meuse, told The Boston Globe. "But a lot of the swelling has gone down."

Caitlin Meuse was walking home from a friend's house Thursday evening when she was attacked and beaten. A neighbor found Meuse in the street, unconscious and bleeding from the face. She has been recovering at Boston Medical Center from injuries including a head wound, dislodged front teeth, a fractured nose, deep cuts, and swelling.

Meuse's brother, Brian, 29, said "police are looking into" a link between the attack and an alleged encounter between Meuse and a female student Wednesday at Concord-Carlisle High School, as Meuse took part in a Day of Silence, an annual event at schools nationwide in which demonstrators refrain from talking in order to promote tolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.

"She's not gay but very open-minded," her brother said. "If she believes in something, she
believes in it 110%. If she could do it again tomorrow, she would."

According to witnesses, on Wednesday a female student yelled derogatory comments at the group of students participating in the Day of Silence, including Meuse, who responded by quietly approaching the girl and writing her a note. Meuse's message was not known, but the girl allegedly retaliated by shouting that Meuse was a lesbian.

Police are looking into that exchange as part of their investigation of Meuse's attack, but no suspects have been identified at this time.

Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which sponsors the Day of Silence, said Friday, "I would like to express our profound sadness and shock at the horrifying attack on Caitlin Meuse in Concord, Mass. Our thoughts go out to her and her family at this
difficult time, and we are fervently hoping for a swift and complete recovery for her."

Jennings noted that the attack highlights the reason for the Day of Silence, adding that four out of five lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students routinely experience verbal, physical, or sexual
harassment at school. "This attack affects me on a deeply personal level," he continued. "I founded GLSEN while a teacher at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass., the very town where Caitlin was
assaulted.

"Caitlin was one of more than 200,000 students who courageously took action last Wednesday to continue the progress we have made in reducing violence and harassment aimed at LGBT students in our schools. I am deeply saddened to see Caitlin become a victim of violence herself."