Metro Weekly

Man charged with beating homeless transgender woman for using restroom

Witnesses claim Fred Joseph Costanza punched Lauren Jackson in the face 10 times, breaking her jaw

Lauren Jackson’s injuries – Photo: KATU.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted an Idaho man on four charges after he allegedly assaulted a homeless transgender woman, injuring her so severely that her jaw was broken.

Fred Joseph Costanza, 37, of Blackfoot, Idaho, will go to trial on charges of first-degree bias crime, second-degree assault, menacing, and harassment for allegedly attacking Lauren Jackson at Oregon’s Agate Beach State Park last weekend.

Jackson, who recently moved to Oregon from Utah, had reportedly been using the women’s restroom at the park when a woman who had accompanied Costanza to the park complained about Jackson’s presence in the restroom, reports KATU.

According to prosecutors, Constanza held Jackson’s hair and punched her in the face “more than ten times,” according to witnesses. Jackson’s jaw was broken in several places and she was forced to spend several days in the hospital as a result. She may even require reconstructive surgery.

According to the Newport Police Department report of the attack, Costanza is unemployed, a multi-state offender, and was previously arrested for failure to appear in another case, reports the Newport News Times. He was also allegedly drunk at the time of his arrest, the police report says.

Jackson returned to court to testify at the preliminary hearing, after which Costanza was indicted.

He will now be tried under a new statute that went into effect in July, which makes a crime motivated by bias against a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity a felony.

The new law also removed a previous stipulation that multiple people need to commit a crime for it to be considered motivated by bias, reports KATU.

While Jackson was testifying about what happened to her, a crowd of clergy and local officials rallied outside the Lincoln County Courthouse as a show of support for her.

“People of faith to just come together and say whatever your theology is, whatever your beliefs on this issue, can we come together and say that hate is wrong, that violence is wrong?” the Rev. Bob Barrett of Yachats Community Presbyterian Church, said. “The type of violence that we saw last week is wrong.”

Read more:

Oklahoma’s Norman City Council passes state’s first LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance

2019 U.S. Conference on AIDS focused on ending the HIV epidemic in America

Transgender student sues West Virginia school board over response to assistant principal’s alleged harassment

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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