A teenager has been found guilty of aggravated battery, but not of hate crime by a juvenile judge in Palm Beach Country, Florida, today.
In June 2006, the then 17-year old beat a 39-year old trans-woman, according to his attorney out of self-defence.
The woman claims that the teen was sexually aggressive towards her, although she had told him that she was not a biological woman.
The victim claims that the violence, whereby the teenager smashed her head against a lifeguard stand, resulted from her rejecting the youngster’s sexual advances and not because she was a trans-woman.
She denies that they were involved in any sexual activity.
The main witness, a friend of the teenager’s who was at the scene, is not talking, the attorney says.
According to the law in Florida a crime is classified as a hate-crime only when perpetrator intentionally selects a victim on the basis of characteristics like race, religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Gender identity currently does not fall under federal or Florida law as a motive for hate-crime.
The culprit’s attorney told the Miami Herald.com that the incident does not meet the definition of a hate-crime because his client did not “intentionally select” the victim.
The victim, who has lived for over a decade as a woman, says she wants the teen to face consequences for the beating but does not want to see him charged as an adult.
“I guess I’m a little more compassionate. … I didn’t want to destroy his life,” with a felony charge in adult court, she told the Miami Herald.com .
The teenager, who had been under house arrest since the incident last year, will return to court next month for his sentence hearing.