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Women claim they can't be guilty of hate crime against gay man – because they're lesbians

in UNITED STATES, 27/02/2012

A trio of women have claimed they can't be charged with a hate crime for assaulting a gay man – because they are lesbians.

Sisters Erika Stroud, 21, Felicia Stroud, 18, are charged alongside Lydia Sanford, 20, of violently assaulting the man at a train station in Boston.

He apparently bumped into them by accident, which annoyed them.

According to reports, they are accused of repeatedly punching and kicking the man at the Forest Hills T station in Jamaica Plain, yesterday.

The victim also alleges that they verbally assaulted him with anti-gay slurs.

Now, the women all face hate crime charges of assault and battery with intent to intimidate, which carries up to a 10-year prison sentence.

The Boston Herald newspaper – who first reported the story – adds that Carolyn Euell, the mother of two of the Strouds, agrees that they should not face hate-crime charges.

Attorney Helene Tomlinson, who represented Sanford, told the judge her client is "openly identified as a lesbian ... so any homophobic (conduct) is unwarranted."

She said the alleged victim was the aggressor.

But Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, told the Herald that the prosecutors will have no problem proving the women committed a hate crime, even if they are lesbians.

"The defendants’ particular orientation or alleged orientations have no bearing on our ability to prosecute for allegedly targeting a person who they believe to be different from them," he said.

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