Thursday, July 9, 2009
Elected officials and nonprofits are rallying behind a transgender Jackson Heights woman who was severely beaten by a pair of men in Woodside last month after the Queens district attorney’s office did not initially categorize the attack as a hate crime. Leslie Mora was walking home around 4:20 a.m. near Roosevelt Avenue and 72nd Street June 19 when she was accosted by two men, Gilberto Ortiz, 32, and Trinidad Tapia, 19, according to a criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office. The two Woodside men beat Mora with a metal belt buckle before fleeing the scene, the complaint said. Mora suffered bruises all over her body and a cut to her head. Michael Silverman, Mora’s attorney, said the men repeatedly called Mora “faggot” and did not stop beating her until a passing motorist threatened to call police. The criminal complaint does not mention gay slurs. Both men were arrested and charged with assault and weapons possession, the DA said. They were released on their own recognizance and scheduled to return to court July 13. “While Ms. Mora is transgender, the evidence makes it clear that her assailants believed that she was gay and attacked her because of that,” Silverman wrote in a letter to the DA’s office. A spokeswoman for DA Richard Brown said prosecutors have met with Silverman and are awaiting additional documents.
Posted by De Sube at 7/09/2009 12:06:00 PM