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Utah Man Who Reported Hate Crime Now Says Wounds Self-Inflicted

Utah Man Who Reported Hate Crime Now Says Wounds Self-Inflicted

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Rick Jones said he carved 'Die Fag' into his own arm, in what his attorneys are calling 'a cry for help.'

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A Utah gay man who reported that an attacker carved "Die Fag" into his arm now says the wound was self-inflicted, police said Tuesday.

Attorneys for Rick Jones made the admission last week to the sheriff's office in Millard County, a largely rural area south of Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

"Our client is responsible for all of the incidents and that would include the cutting of his own skin" as well as his reports of burglary and vandalism at his home and his family business, a pizza restaurant, attorney Paul Burke told the paper Tuesday. Jones had claimed three separate attacks occurred, two in April and one in June.

But Burke said this was not a hoax but "a cry for help," as Jones, 21, is having problems with family members, who are not pleased that he is gay.

"A hoax implies a genuine intent to deceive," the lawyer said. "From what I understand of this situation, this was a cry for help and it was a genuine cry for help."

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, noted the difficulties faced by young LGBT people in rural areas. "The mental health of these youth depends on a loving network of family, neighbors, and friends," he told the Tribune. "Without these enduring ties, kids like Rick become increasingly vulnerable."

Authorities are considering whether to bring criminal charges against Jones, something Burke hopes they won't do. But so far they have treated him compassionately, he told the paper.

Also, Jones's family announced they will not accept the nearly $12,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign to pay his medical expenses. "Rick and his family are grateful for the expressions of support, but cannot accept this generosity. All donations are being returned to the donors," read a post on the site. "The family has no further comment at this time."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.