Prosecutor: Attacks Against Gay Men Could Be Hate Crimes
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:42 AM EDT
COLUMBUS (Terri Sullivan/Ken Hines) -- A recent string of attacks against gay men can potentially be classified as hate crimes, according to the Franklin County Prosecutor.
Columbus police are investigating a string of physical and verbal attacks against five gay men, who believe they were targeted because of their sexual preference.
Many central Ohioans are calling the attacks hate crimes, though the distinction can be difficult to prove, according to Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.
"You have to show motivation," O'Brien said. "And just because the victim is gay wouldn't be enough. But usually people who commit these crimes do say things that indicate they're targeting a protected group."
Gay people are not a protected group under to state law, but Columbus law allows prosecutors to include a motive at trial which can lead to increased penalties.