MINEOLA, N.Y. – Three teenagers beat and slapped a younger boy during bus rides to and from school this week because they suspected he was gay, and two of them taunted him about it, police on New York's Long Island said Thursday.
David Spencer, 18, and Roy Wilson, 16, were arraigned Thursday in Nassau County Court in Hempstead. Bail was set at $1,000 for Spencer and $500 for Wilson. They were represented by attorneys from Legal Aid, which does not comment on pending cases. A third co-defendant, 16-year-old Chase Morrison, will be arraigned Friday; the name of his attorney was not immediately available.
Morrison and Spencer were charged by police with felony assault and aggravated harassment, the latter charge stemming from alleged anti-gay epithets uttered during the attacks, police said. Wilson was charged only with assault because police said there was no evidence that he made any anti-gay slurs.
Police said the remarks about the victim's sexual orientation were made after school Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. The three defendants and the 14-year-old victim, whom police did not identify, attend a regional trade school in Hicksville.
The victim was "stomped and kicked" on his arms, legs and stomach during a bus ride home on Tuesday afternoon, Detective Lt. John MacEwen said. The next morning, Spencer and Morrison allegedly made "disparaging remarks to the victim regarding his sexual orientation," and slapped him in the head and face. The boy told school officials Wednesday about the encounter and police arrested the older teens later that day.
"We felt this was bias-related," MacEwen told reporters Thursday.
The arrests come just days after 10 men were charged in the Bronx with what New York City officials say was one of the worst cases of anti-gay violence in recent memory. Police say a group of gang members beat and sodomized a 17-year-old recruit because they thought he was gay. Another 17-year-old also thought to be gay was attacked, and a 30-year-old and his brother were beaten as well.