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Judge Orders Compensation For Gay Man Victim Of Ha


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Judge Orders Compensation For Gay Man Victim Of Hate Attack

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: September 20, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Madison Wisconsin) A Wisconsin judge has disputed a police account of an attack on two gay men and ordered the state to pay compensation to one of the them.

Matt Collins, 28, and his partner, Shawn Wiese, 31, were attacked by a group of men on Jan. 2, 2004 in the parking lot of a club in suburban Fitchburg.

Collins said the beating began when a member of a traveling rodeo show asked them, "Are you guys faggots?"

Collins received multiple broken bones in his right wrist that required a plate and seven screws. Wiese received bruises but did not require hospitalization.

Police said that they concluded it was Collins and Wiese who had provoked the attack and sought to have the couple charged with criminal misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct. The district attorney's office instead filed lesser civil disorderly conduct charges but later dropped the charges because of the severe injuries the pair had received.

Collins, who has no health insurance, was hospitalized for two days and said he is out more than $30,000 in medical bills and lost wages.

When Collins applied for compensation from the state's crime victims fund he was turned down because of the police report. Collins then appealed to an administrative law judge.

Wiese was covered by insurance and did not seek state compensation.

After hearing from 13 witnesses judge Jeffrey Boldt ruled that the most credible testimony "makes it far more likely that this fight was in fact a hate crime directed at them because of their sexual orientation."

The state has not yet determined how much money he will receive.

In more than a year and a half there have no arrests in the attack on Collins and Weise.

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed legislation to expand federal hate crimes laws to include gays, lesbians and the transgendered. (story)

A Senate version of the bill is currently before the chamber.

This legislation extends existing hate crimes laws that already cover crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion to include crimes based on actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity, including gender-related characteristics. The gender identity/characteristics language was added to this bill this year to make clear that anti-transgender crimes are covered.

The bill would allow the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting cases in which violence occurs.

©365Gay.com 2005


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