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Posts for July, 2009

Follow Up on Brett Vanasdlen

Timothy Kincaid

July 16th, 2009

brettvanasdlen.jpgDuring the attention given to the debate in Congress over the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes Bill, I was reminded of the story of Brett Vanasdlen, the young man in Champaign, Illinois, who was charged with a hate crime in 2008.

We reported the story, but we didn’t fully follow up. Here’s where we left it:

  • Stephen Velasquez was walking with friends at 1:00 am. Another young man, Brett Vanasdlen, saw him and made a bigoted remark.
  • According to Velasquez, he responded, “How ignorant was that?” and kept walking. According to Vanasdlen, Velasquez grabbed him and started screaming, “What did you say” in his face.
  • In both stories, Vanasdlen threw Velasquez to the ground where he was knocked out, suffered head trauma, and was taken to the hospital.
  • Vanasdlen was arrested and charged with a hate crime.
  • Vanasdlen’s mother appealed to Anti-Semite Ted Pike and former KKK leader David Dukes for support and they ran her version of events on Dukes’ white supremacist website. Peter LaBarbera picked up the story from them (changing Pike to a “pro-family activist”) and sold it to conservative circles. The story spread as an example of how a conservative Christian “strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” was victimized by a homosexual with brown skin through the use of hate crimes legislation.

White supremacists and anti-Semites throughout the country began including Vanasdlen as an example of the current indignities suffered by the “white race”. Anti-gay religious groups used it as an example of why gay people should not be protected by hate crimes.

Peter LaBarbera was probably most vocal about this story. And he was quite critical of the skepticism expressed by those of us who doubted Vanasdlen’s saintliness.

We’ll see how this story plays out as Tim, ExGayWatch, BTB, Pam and the rest of the “queer” spin machine so eagerly paint a false picture of young Brett as a violent “gay basher” to further their misguided crusade.

Peter pledged to one and all that “AFTAH will be following this case closely.”

So today I turned to LaBarbera’s site to see whatever happened to Brett Vanasdlen and his campaign to clear his name. But I found nothing. No mention at all of the outcome.

So what happened? Did the courts clear him? Did witnesses come forward to declare that the “strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” had actually been the victim and brown homosexual Velasquez was the “the real aggressor“?

Well, no.

On September 9, 2008 Brett Vanasdlen pled guilty to battery and the hate crime charge was dropped.

Defendant ordered to pay restitution in the amount to be determined at a later date.
Sentence: 09/08/2008
Sentence: Fines and/or Cost/Penalties and Fees
Sentence: Court Supervision 24Mos Supervised Court Service
Sentence: Anti-Crime Assessment Fee
Sentence: Public Service 200Hrs Supervised Court Service
Sentence: Substance Abuse Treatment/Evaluation 60Days
Sentence: Partner Abuse Intervention Program 60Days
Sentence: Count(s) dismissed.

I guess it’s no wonder that LaBarbera kept silent about the resolution to this case. Martyrs are much less effective when they plead guilty.