8 gang suspects arraigned in NYC anti-gay attack
Sunday, October 10, 2021 10:31 PM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By KAREN MATTHEWS

NEW YORK - Eight gang suspects arrested in the torture of two teenage boys and a man in an anti-gay attack were arraigned Sunday on hate crime charges, standing in a courtroom with their heads down and their hands cuffed behind them as their relatives wept.

At the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Theresa Gottlieb said that during the Oct. 3 attack each victim was asked before being beaten, "Is it true that you're a fag?"

The charges against the defendants include robbery, assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment as hate crimes. The defendants didn't enter pleas, and police were looking for a ninth suspect, who had been expected to turn himself in but didn't show up.

The nine members of the Latin King Goonies gang had heard a rumor one of their teenage recruits was gay and then found the teen, stripped him, beat him and sodomized him with a plunger handle until he confessed to having had sex with a man, police say. The gang members then found a second teen they suspected was gay and tortured him and the man, police say.

The gang members found the man by inviting him to a house, telling him they were having a party, police say. When he arrived, they burned, beat and tortured him for hours and sodomized him with a miniature baseball bat, police say.

A police officer was posted in three-wheeled scooter outside the four-story brick building Sunday, and crime scene tape stretched across the bottom of it. The home faces Primary School 226.

An assortment of colorful flowers were laid in front of the home with a sympathy card that read: "Prayers for healing - for our community."

The suspects arraigned Sunday were identified as Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; Elmer Confresi, 23; David Rivera, 21; Steven Caraballo, Denis Peitars, Nelson Falu and Bryan Almonte, all 17; and Brian Cepeda, 16.

Bronx Criminal Court Judge Harold Adler set bail for Peitars and Caraballo at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash; the other six were held without bail.

Two attorneys, Paul Horowitz and Fred Bittlingmeyer, represented the eight at the hearing but didn't expect to represent all of them through the legal process.

Bittlingmeyer, representing Peitars, said his client only punched one of the complainants after the other defendants said they "were going to find out who the men are in this room and who the fags are in this room."

Bittlingmeyer said if Peitars didn't throw a punch he would have been attacked himself. He also denied it was a scheme by a gang, describing it as people getting together on a Sunday night and "one individual let it get out of hand."

Horowitz, representing Caraballo, said his client had not previously been in trouble with the law and "denies the allegations." He said the only offense of which Caraballo was accused was hitting one of the complainants with his fist.

Falu's mother, Caroline Falu, said her son is a "good boy."

"I just know my son is innocent," she said. "I know my son. He's not like that."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was sickened by the accusations of violence "and saddened by the anti-gay bias." The beatings in the Bronx followed a string of anti-gay attacks and teen suicides attributed to anti-gay bullying that have led to nationwide soul-searching.

About a week ago, a patron at the Stonewall Inn, a Manhattan bar that's been a symbol of the gay rights movement since protests over a 1969 police raid there, was beaten in an anti-gay attack, prosecutors said.

On Sept. 22, Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, 18, killed himself after his gay sexual encounter in his dorm room was broadcast online.

Days later, more than 500 people attended a memorial service for a 13-year-old central California boy, Seth Walsh, who hanged himself after enduring taunts from classmates about being gay.

In Morris Heights, the largely Hispanic neighborhood where the Oct. 3 beatings took place, gay men and women live openly, and while residents were disturbed by some past violent behavior blamed on the defendants, some said they hadn't previously targeted homosexuals.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, and other elected officials went to the empty brick town house where the attacks occurred and passed out leaflets.

"People were very, very clear that they wanted it to be known that the acts of these individuals do not represent their neighborhood," Quinn said. "They were as stunned as anyone that something so violent, so premeditated ... could happen here."

Children played in the street Sunday outside the empty house. Two blocks away, young men stood on the corner outside the building where the 30-year-old victim lived with his brother in a fifth-floor walk-up. A sign at the building's entrance warned that it was patrolled by the police department's Operation Clean Halls.

In the deli on the main floor of the building, Jose Aurelio said the 30-year-old victim stopped in every morning on his way to the bus, often just to say hello.

"He comes here every day, happy, nice," he said. "Everybody liked him."

---

Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • Indiana may provide early election night clues Oct 11, 2021 06:27 PM

    • INDIANAPOLIS - Conservative Indiana provided the first sign of a Democratic sweep in 2006 when Republicans lost three House seats in the Hoosier state, then glumly watched dozens more fall as polls closed across the country.
    • Now a resurgent Republican Party wants to rerun the same script with a distinctly different ending, aiming to recapture dozens of seats it lost in 2006 and 2008 and putting junior Democrats under political duress from New Hampshire to New Mexico.
    • In Alabama, Rep. Bobby Bright, seeking separation from his party, announced recently he won't vote to re-elect Nancy Pelosi as House speaker if he earns a new term to the seat he won in 2008.
      • SPIN METER: Foreign money in politics? Not proven Oct 11, 2021 06:27 PM

        • WASHINGTON - The Obama administration and its allies are going all out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and GOP-leaning groups, accusing them of using foreign money to help finance political ads.
        • On Monday, the liberal group MoveOn.org began airing an ad in Illinois against Senate candidate Mark Kirk using his support from the chamber to link him to foreign corporations that, in the ad's words, "threaten American jobs."
        • And in Pennsylvania, Vice President Joe Biden kept up the attack on the chamber and other groups that are spending millions of dollars in political ads against Democrats without having to reveal their contributors.
          • Police dogs smell remains at missing girl's house Oct 11, 2021 06:27 PM

            • HICKORY - A search warrant says police dogs detected the smell of human remains on two cars at the house where a missing North Carolina girl lives.
            • Ten-year-old Zahra Clare Baker was reported missing over the weekend, but police say they're not sure if anyone outside her home has seen her in weeks.
            • The girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, was arrested on unrelated charges over the weekend.
              • Chief: Unclear when missing NC girl was last seen Oct 11, 2021 06:20 PM

                • HICKORY, N.C. - Time was running out Monday in the search for a shy but upbeat 10-year-old whose battles with bone cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and hearing aids in both ears, the police chief said.
                • The father and stepmother of 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker told police that they discovered she was missing on Saturday and that one of them had seen her sleeping in her room hours earlier.
                • Zahra's father, Adam Baker, said during an earlier TV interview that it was possible his wife could be involved in the disappearance, which was reported hours after a fire in the home's backyard.
                  • US rescuers may have killed Afghanistan aid worker Oct 11, 2021 06:20 PM

                    • KABUL, Afghanistan - At first, NATO blamed a Taliban bomb for the death of a captive British aid worker during an American rescue attempt in eastern Afghanistan.
                    • Two days later, the coalition changed its account, saying Monday that U.S. forces may have detonated a grenade that killed Linda Norgrove during the operation to free her.
                    • British Prime Minister David Cameron defended Friday's rescue mission, saying his government authorized it only after learning that Norgrove's life was in grave danger.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
alfred bloomingdaleXXXXX RFMD$0.14
r morriseyXXXXX RFMD$0.14
johnorganization MU$0.40
XXXXXXXXXX BLUD$0.30
KyprosIndividual AA$0.06
XXXXXXXXXX X$0.30
XXXXXXXXXX FFIV$0.55
XXXXXXXXXX CREE$0.54
gofasterstripesMr Lak CTXS$0.25
XXXXXXXXXX TOT$1.52