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Colorado Man Faces Hate-Crime Charges in Assault on Trans Man

Colorado Man Faces Hate-Crime Charges in Assault on Trans Man

A 45-year-old man in Boulder, Colo., is facing hate-crime charges stemming from an April 13 attack on a transgender man, reports Denver TV station KUSA.

Paul Wettengel is accused of attacking the 21-year-old man, whose name has not been released, while waiting at a bus stop on Boulder's 28th Street. Police say Wettengel had begun attacking another man who asked for a cigarette lighter when the trans man intervened. Wettengel then punched the trans man in the face, yelled transphobic and homophobic slurs, and grabbed his stomach and breasts, according to police.

Wettengel was arrested that day and charged with third-degree assault. The Boulder Police Department announced Wednesday that he is also being charged with "bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury" — Colorado's version of a hate-crime charge.

According to a 2012 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, transgender individuals are significantly more likely to become victims of assault than their cisgender (nontrans) counterparts. Several recent attacks on transgender women have seen hate-crimes charges brought against perpetrators, such as the February cases of two men — one in San Francisco and the other in Washington, D.C. — who each stabbed a young trans woman while aboard public transportation. In many other cases, however, while family and friends of the victim have expressed suspicion of antitrans bias, hate-crime charges have not been filed.

Anyone with information about Wettengel's case is asked to contact Detective Steve Faber at (303) 441-3384 or anonymously contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or (800) 444-3776.

See more in the KUSA report below.

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