Gay Teen Recovering After Alleged Hate-Crime Attack

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A 17-year-old teen was charged with punching another teen in what police are calling a hate crime.

A gay Utah teen is recovering from what police are saying was a hate crime, according to local outlet KSL TV.

On Saturday, officers arrested a 17-year-old for alleged assault with a hate crime enhancement. 

Sgt. Greg Moffitt of the Sandy Police Department told the outlet that the case will be handled by the juvenile justice system.

Moffitt also said the hate crime enhancement makes the crime a class A misdemeanor, which means the result could include jail time.

“This actually fits in as a hate crime. When you’re targeting someone’s sexual preference, their religion, the color of their skin or ethnic background, those all can be considered a hate crime,” he said to the outlet.

Jocelynn Peacock, the victim’s sister, told KSL TV that the confrontation started late on Friday night around midnight. 

According to Peacock, her 17-year-old brother was near their front door with his boyfriend.

“They were out front of the house talking and they were just hugging each other goodbye and saying goodbye for the night and that’s when those boys drove by,” she said.

The teen’s sister said the group of boys drove by once, yelled homophobic slurs, and then came back less than an hour later to attack, according to the outlet. 

“I didn’t see the punch, but I heard it, the scream afterward, and that’s why I came running out,” Peacock said. 

The sister said the teen now has a “busted lip and gums,” and paramedics checked him out, believing he may have a concussion. 

The victim’s mother told KSL TV that the teen had been in the ER after the incident due to extreme headaches, memory loss, and wanting to sleep constantly.

According to the outlet, the sister was able to find a teen that seemed to be involved on social media and confronted their parents.  

“I ended up going to their house and was like, ‘Um, do you know your son did this?’” Peacock told the outlet.

“And she was like, ‘No, he wouldn’t do that. He would never do that,'" Peacock recalled to KSL TV.

"Well, he did," she continued. "Then, the other boy who actually hit my brother came to the house and talked to us and police were on scene and he got arrested,” the sister told KSL TV.

Moffitt told the outlet that some hate crimes go unreported but said that his department is committed to its victims.

“If you are a victim of something that’s targeted as a hate crime, we’re going to take it serious,” he said. 

“There’s absolutely no room for it.”

Peacock told the outlet that she’s pleased with the outcome and hopes the teen has learned his lesson.

“It’s just sad. It’s 2022, you know. We should love everybody for who they are.”

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