Nine gang members in New York have been accused of a shocking anti-gay attack in which three men were tied up, tortured and sodomised.
The alleged incident took place on October 3rd. Two teenagers and a 30-year-old man were taken to an empty house in Morris Heights before being beaten and abused.
Police say that the attacks were carried out by the group,who are known as the Latin King Goonies.
The victims were allegedly asked “Is it true that you’re a fag?” before being attacked.
According to police, the attacks took place after a rumour that a would-be recruit to the gang was involved in a relationship with a man.
The teenager was the first to be attacked and the gang then allegedly found another teenager they believed to be gay and attacked him too.
One of the teenagers was stripped and sodomised with an object until he admitted being gay.
The gang is then said to have found the boy’s older boyfriend and carried out a similar attack on him. He was burned, beaten and tortured for hours, police said.
The defendants are Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; Elmer Confresi, 23; David Rivera, 21; Steven Caraballo, Denis Peitars, Nelson Falu and Bryan Almonte, all 17; and Brian Cepeda, 16.
A ninth suspect, Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22, has not been found.
The eight have been charged with crimes including robbery, assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment as hate crimes.
They did not enter pleas at their first court appearance yesterday.
Police sources told local media that there had been difficulty in persuading the alleged victims to speak fully about the attack.
The incident has shocked New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that anyone found guilty of such crimes would be jailed.
He said: “Let me be clear to anyone who would contemplate targeting a fellow New Yorker like this: the greatest police department in the world will find you swiftly. You will be prosecuted to the full extent under the law, and you will go to jail for a very long time.”
City council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is a lesbian, said the alleged crimes were “appalling and are even more despicable because the victims were clearly targeted in acts of hate simply because they are gay”.