Sunday, October 10, 2010

NYC officials outraged over anti-gay gang torture

The abandoned home that served as a clubhouse, and allegedly a torture chamber, for a street gang accused of trapping and brutalizing three gay men is AP – The abandoned home that served as a clubhouse, and allegedly a torture chamber, for a street gang accused …
NEW YORK – Outraged city leaders said Saturday that the city wouldn't tolerate the "vicious" hatred that had apparently caused a street gang to allegedly beat and torture two teenage boys and a man inside an abandoned home over the course of several hours because they were gay.
Police arrested an eighth suspect in the beatings Saturday, while a ninth remained at large.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that several of the suspects had made statements implicating themselves in the crime, which occurred in a neighborhood where residents said homosexuality is both common and tolerated.
Asked if the men had expressed any remorse for what they had done, Kelly said "I wouldn't call it remorse."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was "sickened" by the violence, that police said included sodomizing one of the men with a plunger handle and hourslong torture of others. The attack came amid heightened attention to anti-gay bullying following a string of teen suicides attributed to it last month around the country.
"Like many New Yorkers, I was sickened by the brutal nature of these crimes and saddened by the anti-gay bias that contributed to them," the mayor said. "The heartless men who committed these crimes should know that their fellow New Yorkers will not tolerate their vicious acts, or the hatred that fuels them."
The suspects arrested Thursday and Friday were identified as Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; David Rivera, 21; four 17-year-olds, Steven Caraballo, Denis Peitars, Nelson Falu and Bryan Almonte; and Brian Cepeda, 16. All face charges including robbery, assault and unlawful imprisonment as hate crimes; Mendez, Rivera and Falu were additionally charged with committing a criminal sex act.
The eighth suspect, Elmer Confresi, 23, of the Bronx, turned himself in on Saturday. Kelly said that a lawyer representing the ninth suspect had arranged for his client to turn himself in, but never showed.
The suspects were awaiting possible arraignment Saturday, the Bronx District Attorney's office said.
A reporter knocked on Rivera's door in the Bronx Saturday and no one answered. Telephone numbers could not be found for the other suspects, and it wasn't immediately clear if the suspects had attorneys.
Bryan Almonte's stepmother, Carmen, told The New York Times that the teen was hospitalized Friday night after going into diabetic shock during his arrest. She said his father died three months ago.
"Bryan is not a bad kid," she told the newspaper. "If he was there, he didn't do anything."
Cepeda was interested in becoming a police officer, said his mother, Ada Cepeda.
"He's not rude; he's quite intelligent," Cepeda told the Times. "I'm a realist. It's not that my son is a saint. But I doubt he would do that."
Police said the nine members of a gang that called itself the Latin King Goonies went berserk after hearing a rumor that one of their new recruits, a 17-year-old, was gay, and trapped and brutalized the men on Oct. 3-4.
Investigators say the teen was stripped, beaten and sodomized with a plunger handle until he confessed to having had sex with a 30-year-old man who lives a few blocks away.
Then, the group grabbed a second teen they suspected was gay and tortured him, too, police said. Finally, they invited the 30-year-old to the house, telling him they were having a party. When he arrived, they burned, beat and tortured him for hours. The attack included sodomizing him with a miniature baseball bat, police said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is gay, and other elected officials went to the empty brick townhouse where the attacks took place Saturday and passed out leaflets imploring residents to turn in the remaining suspects.
"People were very, very clear that they wanted it to be known that the acts of these individulas do not represent their neighborhood," said Quinn. "They were as stunned as anyone that something so violent, so premeditated ... could happen here."
Gay men and women lived openly in the neighborhood, and while residents were disturbed by some past violent behavior by the suspects, some said they hadn't previously targeted homosexuals.
"I was friends with all of them," said Natty Martinez, a gay 16-year-old who lives in the neighborhood.
"They were chill. There was no beef," she said Saturday. "I had no idea they had no heart."
Sitting on the steps of the home where the attacks took place, Martinez and three teenage friends said the accused men had frequently partied in an empty apartment on the block.
The girls said the young men were "the nicest ever." Some even went to church, they said. But they added that when the group drank heavily, they did bad things and sometimes beat up people.
Word of the assaults apparently reached residents long before police had pieced together what happened.
Jaymarie Mendez, 16, said she heard about the attack, "the next day," but said that, like other young people in the area, "We don't talk to cops. We don't like them."
The victims, authorities said, didn't call the police either.
"How can people do something like that?" asked Keith Handsford, 35, an air conditioning repairman who lives next to the building where the assaults took place.
He said he had two teenage nieces who were gay, and lived in the neighborhood,and were not harrassed.


Gary Kelly said...

My initial reaction to this story is that bullies will attack anyone, no matter who they are - gay, straight or otherwise. Just so long as their victims are a minority. Bullies don't like to be outnumbered because they are cowards. That's their style... yellow to the core. Scum.

If you need more proof, check out this story from Ohio - fellow classmates laughing at the corpse of a suicide victim:

JustinO'Shea said...

Yes, Gary . . . I shudder at the thought these girls will 'age'. .( I seriously doubt they will 'grow up'). .will marry and have children.
What a tragedy: what chance will those kids have. . . and the poor husband trapped, unless he is smart, in a hell-hole. "Like produces like".

For me, in all of this, I see hope. .
While there is all this crap going on and it is crushing tragic. . there is goodness, strength, energy, love, joy, caring etc going on all around us.. . all around me. Just to take the love and joy I am en-joying this weekend, the families in my life which nourish and sustain me. . . .this far outweighs . . . .well, whatever. . .

I know I am hardly a spokesperson for the "oppressed, abused, victimized gay kid". . . You keep reminding me - and your sentiments serve as a reality check - how lucky, fortunate, blessed, privileged I am. . .I still believe what others call outdated myth - that of the victory of good over evil as essential hope and reality.

That has been again affirmed and strengthened by being home this weekend with Peter and our families. I choose to live with that 'belief system' which I know from experience and verifiable fact, rather than succumb to the dark empty hole of despair and disappointed rage.

Is my 'belief system' and the life I am inheriting and building on all illusion? I think NOT!

Which is preferable. . .the vision/hope/reality in which I live or that bitter angry hole of despair and rage ? Obviously I prefer mine. ;-)

This morning once again the SUN has mythically/mystically dispelled the DARKNESS. It is all new, "born again". . .

justin o'shea

J said...

All of this stuff has as it's core the sexual inadquacies of the young male bully. He doesn't want to confess that he's stared at his beautiful male classmate in the gym shower, or that he and his buddy jacked eachother off when they were 13, and the only way he can confirm his "manliness" is to became a pack animal. Have you noticed that all these bullies seem to do their acting out in front of an audience of their peers? They are terrified that someone will know their deepest secrets.
The campaign against gay-hatred is the great civil rights cause of our time. What's interesting is how reticent our politicians are to make it an issue. Could it be that the black civil rights movement succeeded because it wasn't condemned by popular religious scripture?

Stew said...

There are bullies everywhere in the world. The article paints a picture of a community that is loving and accepting. It also portrays the attackers as the bad guys. And they are.

Consider now that there are places, here in the US, where the story would be turned around. Where the bullies would be the good guys. Sending a message that gays are not welcome. I know this, because my own sister lives in a place like that.

Unfortunately, just as many gays are born to these people as there are to the accepting ones. We've got a long way to go. We can't stop. It should bother us that this happened. At least it happened in a neighborhood that will not put up with it.

jimm said...

Hate... is wasted energy. Imagine putting the same amount of effort into doing good.

My only day off, Justin. I shall set off exploring Durand and IQ Bay.

JustinO'Shea said...

Hey Jimm BO. . .are Durand and IQ Bay
on Lake Ontario ? Jusr thought. . is IQ Bay Irdondiquoit Bay by any chance??? ;-)

Hope your weather is good. Here it is 61* but in the shade it is chill. . . oh where did Summer go?

I dragged Peter out of bed by his heels and we went for our run. . .with a lite hoodie. . .a tad nippy along the shaddy road with a bit of ocean breeze. . .but energizing, anywho. . . We were wide awake for church. . . until we sat for the sermon. . .ho ho ho


jimm said...

yup JustinBO, you got it right.

Gary Kelly said...

It appears the consensus here is that bullying is a fact of life and here to stay.

I suspect that trying to educate bullies and bigots, and change their behavior, is a waste of time. So let's educate victims and potential victims, preferably in advance.

Perhaps, indirectly, the bullies and bigots will eventually get the message that they are the ones with the problem and not their prey.