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Gay Americans Beaten In St. Maarten


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Gay Americans Beaten In St. Maarten

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

April 8, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Philipsburg, St. Maarten) Two CBS News employees were attacked and severely beaten by a group of men on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten where they were vacationing in what is described at as homophobic attack.

WFOR television in Miami reports that Richard Jefferson, a senior producer for the CBS Nightly News and his friend Ryan Smith a producer-researcher fort 48 Hours were attacked as they left a popular bar after an altercation with the men earlier in the night inside the club.

The attackers allegedly hurled homophobic insults at the two and they were beaten with a tire iron. Both men were rushed to a local hospital. Jefferson sustained severe cuts on the back of his head and his lower back. Smith suffered a fractured skull and possible neurological damage.

He was transferred by air ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Miami on Friday. Jefferson is also in Miami receiving medical care.

A doctor said that Smith is unable to speak properly and may have difficulty walking.

Jefferson was critical of the way police handled the situation.

He said that employees of the club called police but no one responded. Jefferson said he called police from the hospital but at no time did any officer come to the hospital to take a report.

Police in Philipsburg did not return calls from 365Gay.com seeking information.

Jefferson said he has been visiting St. Maarten for 15 years but it isn't “a friendly island anymore.”

Earlier in the week a gay man was chased through the campus of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica by rioting students. (story)

Students on Friday apologized for the attack and the university said it would discipline the ringleaders.

The rioting began when a student claimed the man had propositioned him in a college washroom.

Meanwhile, police on Friday said the victim of the attack was not a student as they had earlier stated. The man is being investigated under Jamaica's sodomy law and will be charged with trespassing.

©365Gay.com 2006

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