Gay student attacked in Montana, spurring calls for hate-crimes bill

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 The 22-year-old student, who was not identified by name, has withdrawn from the school.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 student’s body and that cuts on the student’s eye required surgery. “In my conversation with him yesterday, he said he was healing,” Pastoor said Friday. “I don’t believe he’s 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 it’s 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 state’s existing hate-crimes law was tabled by the house judiciary committee last week on an 11–9 vote. State representative Jeff Mangan said that “when an incident like this happens in Montana--and we know they’ve happened before, there’s no denying that--it makes us pull together...and think maybe this is the year.”

Tags: World, World

Latest videos on Advocate

From our Sponsors