A homeless transgender woman was beaten on an Oregon beach, apparently because she’d used the women’s restroom, and the man accused of attacking her may face bias crime charges.
Lauren Jackson, who had recently moved from Utah to Oregon, was beaten last Saturday at Agate Beach State Park in Newport, Portland TV station KATU reports.
A woman who had used the restroom with Jackson complained to her husband about the trans woman’s presence, according to police records. Witnesses told police the husband, Fred Joseph Costanza, 37, of Blackfoot, Idaho, then attacked Jackson, holding her by the hair and punching her in the face more than 10 times, according to the station. She suffered several fractures to her jaw and skull, and was taken to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for treatment. She said doctors there told her she will need reconstructive surgery, the Newport News Times reports. Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her medical expenses.
Costanza was arrested two days later and charged with second-degree assault, second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing, and harassment, the Times reports. Jackson testified at a closed hearing Thursday before a grand jury that will decide whether to bring bias crime charges against Costanza. He is being held in the Lincoln County Jail. Police said he has a criminal record and was drunk at the time of the attack.
As Jackson arrived at the Lincoln County Courthouse to testify, several local ministers and others were holding a vigil in support of her. “People of faith to just come together and say whatever your theology is, whatever your beliefs on this issue, can we come together and say that hate is wrong, that violence is wrong?” Pastor Bob Barrett of Yachats Community Presbyterian Church told KATU. “The type of violence that we saw last week is wrong.”