Lisa Leff, AP, Dec. 23, 2008
A woman in the San Francisco Bay area was jumped by four men, taunted for being a lesbian, repeatedly raped and left naked outside an abandoned apartment building, authorities said Monday.
Detectives say the 28-year-old victim was attacked Dec. 13 after she got out of her car, which bore a rainbow gay pride sticker. The men, who ranged from their late teens to their 30s, made comments indicating they knew her sexual orientation, said Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan.
Authorities are characterizing the attack as a hate crime but declined to reveal why they think the woman was singled out because of her sexual orientation. Gagan would say only that the victim lived openly with a female partner and had a rainbow flag sticker on her car.
The 45-minute attack began when one of the men approached the woman as she crossed the street, struck her with a blunt object, ordered her to disrobe and sexually assaulted her with the help of the other men.
When the group saw another person approaching, they forced the victim back into her car and took her to a burned-out apartment building, where she was raped again inside and outside the vehicle. The assailants took her wallet and drove off in her car. Officers found the car abandoned two days later.
The woman sought help from a nearby resident, and she was examined at a hospital. Although the victim said she did not know her attackers, detectives hope someone in the community knows them. One of the men went by the nickname “Blue” and another was called “Pato,” according to authorities.
[Ed. Note: “Pato” is Spanish for duck.]
Four men beat and raped a woman and left her naked on a central Richmond street last weekend, punctuating their 45-minute attack with comments that made clear why they chose her as their victim—she is a lesbian, police said.
The crime, while equaled in violence by others in the city’s recent past, differs in that it also bore the unmistakable stamp of prejudice against the victim, police said Friday.
For that reason, detectives will investigate the case as a hate crime as well as a sexual assault, and the Richmond Police Department offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrests and prosecution in the case.
Police said the victim described the ringleader as a Latino man in his 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He had a mustache and his breath smelled of alcohol. He primarily spoke Spanish.
His main accomplice was a black man in his early 20s, about 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, who was called “Blue” by his colleagues, police said.
Two other Latino men also participated. Both were in their late teens or early 20s, and one was called “Pato,” police said.