Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for October, 2010

Eleventh Man Arrested In “Wolf Pack” Attacks

Jim Burroway

October 15th, 2010

The circle of suspects continue to widen in the vicious gang attacks against two 17-year-old gay youths and a 30-year-old gay man in the Bronx to weeks ago.  Luis Garcia, 26, who police say wrapped a chain around his fist and beat the 30-year-old man, is the eleventh arrested suspect in what’s being called the worst gay hate crime in New York City in memory. Garcia will be arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court today.

Tenth “Wolf Pack” Suspect Arrested As Victim Describes Ordeal

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2010

One of the seventeen-year-old victims of the vicious “Wolf Pack” attacks has spoken about his ordeal to New York reporters on Monday. He told reporters at ABC7:

They put me in the middle of the chair. They asked me “are you gay?” I was like “nah”, They was like “you did this?” I said “yea.” “You did this with the gay guy?” I was like “yea.” That’s when they started hitting me. Like beating me up. I was there for like an hour.

…They said, “You a faggot or something?” What’s wrong with you? You crazy?

Surprisingly, the gang members told the victim, who had been a recruit into the gang, not to take the assault personally. They told him that he could still remain a member of the gang.

Meanwhile, a tenth suspect, José Dominguez, 22, was arrested yesterday. He will face charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment and aggravated assault, all as hate crimes.

Ninth Bronx Assault Suspect Arrested

Jim Burroway

October 11th, 2010

The New York Daily News reports that the ninth suspect in the vicious “wolf pack” assault against three gay men in the Bronx has been arrested. Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, was captured by New York Police today and taken to the Bronx. Details of his arrest have not been released. He had been expected to turn himself in over the weekend, but reneged on the promise.

Bronx “Wolf Pack” Attackers Arraigned

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

Eight of nine suspects in last week’s brutal attack on three gay men in the Bronx were arraigned on Sunday morning in Bronx Criminal Court on several criminal charges, including gang assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment, all as hate crimes. As part of the hearing, more gruesome details of the attacks came to light:

After he had been punched, kicked and stripped of his clothes and jewelry, the 17-year-old man was given a choice: the bat or the pipe.

… Before the night was out, the victims would be tortured with burning cigarettes, box cutter blades, plunger handles and more, prosecutors charged. But first, the 17-year-old had to make his selection.

“I guess the bat,” he said.

The court-appointed lawyer for one of the defendants, seventeen-year-old Denis Peitars, said that his client agreed to testify before the grand jury. A ninth suspect, Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, is still at large.

Eighth Suspect Arrested in Bronx “Wolf Pack” Assaults

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

The New York Times reports that an eighth suspect in what police described as a brutal “wolf pack” style attack against three gay men in the Bronx last weekend has turned himself in to police. Elmer Confresi, 23, turned himself in on Saturday night, while a ninth suspect, Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, reneged on a promise he made through his lawyer to turn himself in. Vargas-Perez remains at large.

The Times included that information in a larger article about the shock and sadness that is reverberating through the Bronx neighborhood where the attacks took place.

The most severely brutalized victim was a gay 30-year-old Hispanic immigrant known in his Bronx neighborhood as “la Reina,” Spanish for “the Queen.” He was playful, flirty and always ready for a party, neighbors said.

…Every day, he stopped by El Tio grocery, the bodega on the ground floor of his building, for juices, sandwiches and small talk, according to the manager, Xavier Peña. “He was a good friend,” Mr. Peña said. “He’s a very, very nice guy. He called me Papi, Papi.”

Many in the neighborhood used female pronouns to refer to the man, though they said he dressed in men’s clothes. “She’s gay, she’s like a woman, we think of her like a woman,” explained one neighbor, speaking on the condition that he not be named for fear of reprisals.

“She’s a very good person,” he added. “If you were ever hungry or thirsty, you could go to Reina, and she would help you.”

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News says that several of the arrested gang members are pinning the blame for the attacks on the gang’s leader, Ildefonso (Cheto) Mendez, who they say threatened them if they refused to participate.

Bronx Gang Tortures Two Teens, Man For Being Gay

Jim Burroway

October 9th, 2010
Suspected Bronx Gang members being led to a police station after a series of anti-gay attacks in the Bronx.

Six of seven suspected Bronx gang members being led to a police station after a series of anti-gay attacks in the Bronx.

Nine men ranging from ages 16 to 23 years old abducted two teenage boys, and took them to an abandoned apartment in the Bronx, where they beat them and sodomized one until the boys admitted having sex with a 30-year-old man.They then lured the 30-year-old man to the same apartment, by telling him there was a house party going on and instructed him to bring plenty of liquor. Once the man arrived:

The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

The beatings and robberies went on for hours. They were followed by a remarkably thorough attempt to sanitize the house — including pouring bleach down drains, the police said, as little by little word of the attacks trickled to the police. A crucial clue to the attackers was provided by someone who slipped a note to a police officer outside the crime scene, at 1910 Osborne Place in Morris Heights, near Bronx Community College.

The apartment building where the attacks took place

The apartment building where the attacks took place.

Police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, ““These suspects deployed terrible, wolf-pack odds of nine against one, which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable.” Police say that that attacks were motivated by hatred towards the homosexuality of the victims, and was not a part of an initiation.

Seven suspects have been arrested on Thursday an Friday, and two are still being sought by police. According to the New York Times, the group were not part of a formal gang, but adopted the nickname of Latin King Goonies. They hatched the plan last Saturday after one member of the group saw the 30-year-old man, who was known as being gay, with a 17-year-old who wanted to join the group. (The age of consent in New York is seventeen).

That first 17-year-old was abducted at about 3:30 am on Sunday morning, taken to an abandoned apartment, made to strip naked, beaten, slashed with a box cutter, and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger, and hit in the head with a can of bear. After the teen admitted having sex with the 30-year-old, the gang let him loose and warned him not to say anything. The teen walked to a hospital for treatment, where he said he had been jumped by strangers and robbed.

Later on Sunday evening, the gang abducted a second 17-year-old and beat him until he admitted to having sex with the 30-year-old. They held him while they lured the older man to what they said was a party. He brought with him ten large cans of Four Loko malt liquor. As soon as he arrived he was seized, stripped to his underwear, and tied to a chair opposite the teen. The gang then ordered the second teen to beat him and burn him with a cigarette. The gang joined in the beating using fists and chains. The beating reportedly lasted for hours as the attackers forced the man to drink all ten cans of malt liquor.The man was also sodomized with a baseball bat.

During that ordeal, five of the gang members went to the man’s house which he shared with his 40-year-old brother. They got inside using a key they got from the 30-year-old, where they found his brother in bed. They put a blanket over his head, beat him, and demanded money. The man complied when they put a cell phone to the his ear and he heard his younger brother on the line who pleaded, “Give them the money.” The brother was then tied with rope and tape.

About three hours later, he was able to free himself and call police, but he left out the fact that his brother was being held. As detectives were later leaving the older brother’s home on Monday morning, they saw the 30-year-old brother on the landing where he  had been dumped. He was passed out from the alcohol, and police say he was unable to tell them what had happened to him. It wasn’t until later on Monday that he began to remember what had happened.

It wasn’t until Tuesday when the second teen went to a Bronx police station to describe a version of what happened. Like the others, he wasn’t fully forthcoming with the details our of fear of reprisal and wanting to keep his sexuality a secret. But the second seen gave the address of the abandoned apartment. Police found an immaculate apartment that had been freshly painted and washed with bleach. One detective called it “the cleanest crime scene I’ve ever seen.” Despite the elaborate attempt to conceal the crime, police were still able to find cans of alcohol and hair at the scene.

The plot fell apart on Wednesday night when someone in the crowd of onlookers provided the name of the man believed to be the group’s ringleader. Later, all three victims gave full statements of the attack. Arrested were Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; David Rivera, 21; Nelson Falu, 18; Steven Carballo, 17; Denis Peitars, 17; Bryan Almonte, 17; and Brian Cepeda, 16. Two others, Elmer Confessor, 23, and Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22, are still being sought. They all face charges of unlawful imprisonment, abduction, assault, robbery, sodomy and menacing, all as hate crimes.