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A homeless Oregon man has been released on probation after punching a transgender woman and yelling racial, homophobic, and transphobic comments at her.
Dominick Seferino Gonzales, 38, pleaded no contest to first-degree felony bias hate crime last Friday, receiving a sentence of 75 days in jail, with credit for time served.
He has been released on probation for a period of three years, and will be required to complete both a mental health evaluation and an evaluation for substance abuse disorder, and follow all treatment recommendations.
While on probation, Gonzales will not be allowed to contact the victim or enter the North Park Blocks city park in Portland, where the attack occurred.
During sentencing, Gonzales told Multnomah County Circuit Judge Angel Lopez that he regrets his actions, calling them “a mistake,” reports The Oregonian.
When he was first arrested, Gonzales claimed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and had been homeless for about a year, living off Social Security disability payments and using methamphetamine, heroin, alcohol, and THC, which is why Lopez recommended the mental health and substance abuse evaluations as part of Gonzales’ probation.
According to a news release from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, Gonzales encountered the woman on Sept. 29 while they were standing in line for food and coffee being provided to homeless individuals at North Park Blocks.
The victim, a white transgender female, was wearing a dress, which apparently set Gonzales off as he began yelling at her, using racial, homophobic, and transphobic hate speech.
The victim’s friend tried to de-escalate the situation by stepping in between the two, but Gonzales made multiple attempts to go around the friend, all the while yelling at the victim. He then punched her in the face, splitting her lower lip open and causing it to bleed and swell.
Bystanders rushed to help the victim and detain Gonzales, but he jumped on a bike and fled the area. He was eventually arrested and charged with the bias crime.
“These bias crimes are extremely hurtful for the victims and our community,” Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney BJ Park, who prosecuted this case, said in a statement. “Everyone deserves to feel safe. When someone commits a crime, especially one rooted in hate, we must act to ensure accountability.”
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