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Youth
 
Boston Teen Taken as Gay for Holding Hands, Assaulted
 
ONLINE:  SATURDAY JANUARY 29, 1:45 PM EST (GMT-5).
UPDATED:  TUESDAY FEBRUARY 1, 8:58 PM EST (GMT-5).

A TEEN-AGE girl on a Boston transit train who was holding hands with her friend in a cultural custom was reportedly attacked by classmates for being gay.

The 16-year-old high school student has African heritage and often holds hands with her female friends in a custom from her native country, the Boston Globe reported today.

Five girls from her high school are alleged to have physically attacked her on the train by groping her, ripping her clothes, and shouting "Do you like this? Is this what you like?" while pointing to their genitals. Upon resistance the girl was then allegedly further assaulted by a teenage boy who held a knife to her throat and threatened to slash her. "You'd better let them do what they want to do," he said according to police reports. Following this the girl reported that all six students knocked her to the floor and began beating her.

At the point when she was threatened by the knife a man on the train reportedly attempted to intervene. The knife wielding boy lunged at him and narrowly missed slashing him, according to Globe sources.

Three of the girls were arrested by transit police following the attack and charged with indecent assault and battery and civil rights violations. The other suspects have not been identified.

The girl stated following the attack that she was not cut but believed she had passed out from the beating. She said she escaped when she lifted her head and saw the train had pulled into a stop.

"It's a hate crime not just based on the fact of the traditions of where she came from, but the fact that they were harassing her because they thought she was gay,'' a law enforcement official was quoted as saying. ''We're talking about a really bizarre and really heinous crime," he added.

The high school the students attend is cooperating with authorities and will launch its own investigation Monday. ''These charges are very serious and we are responding accordingly,'' a school spokesperson told the Globe. If the charges are borne out the students could face expulsion as well.


UPDATED:  TUESDAY FEBRUARY 1, 8:58 PM EST (GMT-5).

Arrested girls arraigned on 3 felony counts of assault and civil rights violations

TWO of the 3 teens arrested after Friday's attack were arraigned in Boston juvenile court today.  They were charged with attempted rape, assault with a dangerous weapon, indecent assault on a child, and civil rights violations by force, reported the Boston Globe.  Both were released - one on her own recognizance and the other for $500 bail.  The third girl, 17, is scheduled to appear in adult court tomorrow to face the same charges.  One of the juveniles has a record.

The male suspect who held the knife to the attacked girl's throat has yet to be identified, as are the 2 other girls involved.  Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police have assigned 2 detectives to the case who reportedly were out searching for the suspects today with the attacked girl alongside.

Further details on the assault were revealed by the Authority police:  "They put their hands inside her shirt and grabbed her breasts, and they opened her pants, put their hands inside and touched her genitals," said Detective Peter Pasciucco.  Hence the felony charges of attempted rape and indecent assault on a child.

The mayor of Boston spoke out on the week-end against the attack.

School officials, because the girls are reported to all attend the same high school, are said to be working with the Authority in an attempt to identify the other suspects as well.  A school department spokeswoman reportedly said that disciplinary proceedings began today regarding whether the girls should be suspended pending the investigation.

The juveniles pleaded innocent and will be back in court February 16th.