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attacker gets probation

attacker gets probation

A teenager who severely beat a transwoman on a Florida beach after learning she was biologically male has been sentenced to a year's probation, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The 17-year-old had been charged with aggravated battery in the July 2006 incident. Palm Beach County juvenile court judge Peter Blanc on Thursday rejected prosecutors' pleas that he be locked up and is likely to reoffend.

Blanc, while scoffing at the teen's contention that he had acted in self-defense, also declined to consider the attack as a hate crime.

"In many ways it appears from the testimony that was presented here that there are two victims in the case," the Post quoted him as saying.

The teen, whom authorities declined to identify because he was a minor, had been drinking with a friend when he met up with the 39-year-old transwoman and agreed to have sex on the beach. That plan was aborted when he learned his companion had "male organs," the Post reported.

The teen left, but returned to the beach to beat the victim, a fact prosecutors cited in seeking a tough sentence.

Palm Beach police sergeant Jennifer Sandman testified at last month's trial that he seemed arrogant and told her he beat the victim until his hand was sore, the Post reported. Someone on the lifeguard tower at the beach that night testified the teen slammed the victim's head into the lifeguard stand so hard that he could feel it shake, the paper said.

The victim did not appear in court or respond to several court requests to make a statement that could be factored into the judge's consideration at sentencing.

Meanwhile, the Post said, the defendant's father was outraged that prosecutors did not charge his victim for sexual contact with a 17-year-old, a second-degree felony. The youth has been under house arrest since the incident. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

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