News » Crime

Ky. Teen Girl Beaten, Family Says Incident Was a Hate Crime

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Friday July 20, 2012

The family of a lesbian teenage girl from Louisville, Ky., says she was the victim of a hate crime after a group of adults brutally beat her while shouting homophobic slurs, NBC's Colorado affiliate station 9News reported.

The girl, who is 16, is now recovering at home but suffered a number of substantial injuries, including a broken jaw, knocked out teeth, cuts and bruises.

The teenager was with two boys, ages 13 and 15, when the incident occurred. The boys claim that the group of adults yelled anti-gay epithets at the girl before she was assaulted.

"Her jaw is broken in several places and she has to have a plate put in her jaw," Brenda Hickerson, a family friend, said. "She has teeth knocked out of her mouth and she has scrapes and bruises."

The mother of the two boys said one of her sons called to tell her four adults were following them.

"My son called me and said 'Mom, can you come meet us because we feel uncomfortable," Andi Hornback said. "There are four grown-ups following us a little too close."

Before the boys could tell their mother where they were, the adults started yelling homophobic slurs towards the teen girl.

"I can't even describe it to you," she said. "I'm getting ready to cry, hearing my child scream and know that they were hurt and they were scared and I couldn't get there fast enough."

When Hornback arrived at the scene, police and paramedics were already there. One of the boys suffered a concussion after he was knocked down for trying to help the girl.

"She was on the ground with blood just pouring out of her face," Hickerson said, "These grown men put her on the ground, kicked her in her stomach, kicked her in her face and punched her in the face and kept going until a bystander yelled stop and called 911. I think she was targeted for being a strong lesbian young girl," she added.

"This was a hate crime," Hickerson said. "There were hate slurs and this was not a robbery because they didn't take anything from them."

The boys said there was one woman in the group of adults who didn't attack anyone. Local police are investigating the attack.

Kentucky does not have any hate crime or anti-discrimination laws that protect on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and it was recently reported that a lesbian couple was alleged victims of discrimination after they were kicked out of a park for sharing a kiss.

A park employee sported the couple's quick moment of affection and said, "those type of people are not welcome here." Cheri Chenault and Destiny Keith were with their photographer, Jessica Miller-Poole, who was taking maternity pictures of the couple in the park. Miller-Poole told them to give each other a small peck but the park's gatekeeper told the photographer that she would be banned if depending on "your behavior and if you come back and if you bring those things with you."

"At that point I had to walk away, because those 'things' were my clients and those 'type of people' were no different from you and me," Miller-Poole said. "There's a large sign posted, and it tells the hours of the park, no cats, no dogs, no football, no weddings, things along that line," she said. "It doesn't say anything about a specific race, sexual orientation, anything like that."