In just the past few days, the city has seen a gay teenager leap from the George Washington Bridge after being bullied, hosted a vigil in Washington Square Park for the rash of gay teen suicides happening around the country, and learned of gay bashings that happened in Chelsea and even in the bathroom of the Stonewall Inn. A ‘die-in’ took place to protest the violence in Grand Central last night, and a ‘Take Back the Night’ march had already been planned for 8:30 tonight from the corner of 9th Avenue and 25th (the site of the Chelsea beating) to the Stonewall.
But the march was planned even before news came out of the most bizarre, terrifying acts of gay violence yet.
The horrors of 1910 Osborne Place in the Bronx are so sick, they could be coming mistaken as a plot from a torture porn film. Fortunately, seven of the nine alleged attackers have been apprehend. According to a press release from the NYPD:
“Seven males, ranging in age from 16 to 23, were arrested last night and early this morning connection with anti-gay attacks on three males and a separate robbery of one male within the confines of the 46 precinct. Three of the attacks occurred within an unoccupied apartment at 1910 Osborne Place on Sunday October 3rd, 2010. In each instance, the victim was held against his will, beaten and subjected to anti-gay invective.
Two were sodomized and two were robbed. A fourth victim was robbed in a related but non-bias incident.”
The sodomy, according to the New York Times, took place with “the wooden handle of a plunger.” The seven were Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; David Rivera, 21; Steven Caraballo/17; Denis Peitars; 17, Nelson Falu, 17; Brian Cepeda 17; and Bryan Almonte, 17. The NYPD are still seeking Elmer Confessor, 23 and Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22 for questioning.
The good news is that the cops have quickly nabbed most involved, but it wasn’t until the victims had suffered and been tortured terribly.
According to CBS news, it started when “Members of a street gang discovered one of their recruits was gay, so they attacked the teen, brutally beating and torturing him and two other people in gruesome assaults.”
As reported by the Times‘ City Room blog yesterday, the attacks appear to be
the work of the Latin King Goonies, a street gang in the Bronx (who the NYPD say are different from the Latin Kings).
When the gang discovered a 17 year old recruit was gay, they brought him to an empty apartment where they coerced him to “confess to having performed sex acts with a 30-year-old man.” He was then “thrown into a wall, made to strip naked, hit in the head with a beer can, cut with a box cutter and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger” according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. They then found another 17 year old who’d had sex with the same 30 year old, tortured him, then found the 30 year old, and sodomized him with a “small baseball bat.” Then they took his keys, went to his house, and robbed his brother.
One of the most bizarre details the NYPD released is that the attackers, with the precision of serial killers, returned to the apartment to rip up the carpets and linoleum floors, bleach everything, and paint the walls to try to cover their tracks. (It didn’t work.)
Especially this week, these kinds of crimes hurt not just the victim, but are meant to terrify a whole community. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted on NBC earlier this week that one of the biggest differences between anti-gay violence today and fort years ago at, say, the Stonewall Inn, is how helpful the police are. She praised the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, and made it clear that anyone perpetuating these kinds of crimes will be hunted down and apprehended.
If you have a tip about the two remaining people wanted by the NYPD for questioning, you can reach their Hate Crimes Unit by calling 311. If you are a victim of hate (be it even a verbal threat) and need help, you can reach the Anti-Violence Projectat (212) 714-1141.