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In two separate incidents over the Labor Day weekend, two men claim they were victims of hate crimes. In both cases, the men endured brutal anti-gay assaults.
Twenty-three-year-old Jared Olson of Denver, Colorado will need reconstructive surgery as a result of the attack. Meanwhile, Jared Fox, who was visiting his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, is recovering from being beaten by a group of 20 men.
Legally speaking, a hate crime involves force or the threat of force that is motivated by the victim's:
In both cases here, the victims believe they were singled out because they were gay.
Ohio's hate crime law isn't a stand-alone offense. It falls under an "ethnic intimidation" provision that doesn't include sexual orientation. But a judge can take into account "hate" circumstances in sentencing an attack motivated by prejudice. This includes sexual orientation, according to the Ohio Bar Association.
A simple assault in conjunction with a derogatory slur can be considered a hate crime. Punishments vary, but in general, more serious hate crimes result in more serious consequences.
The severity of the attacks in these two incidents is clear-cut. Olson will undergo reconstructive surgery in his face after suffering a broken nose, fractured face and missing teeth from the attack, according to the Huffington Post. Fox's injuries include a black eye, a ruptured right ear drum and some hearing loss, and severe bruising.
A spate of hate crimes rattled victims across the country over the long weekend, according to the Huffington Post. If you have first-hand information about an incident, you should report the hate crime to a local police or FBI department with the following information:
If you are a victim, you may want to speak with an experienced attorney in your area.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.