ATLANTA -- Two men of Atlanta's Jack City street gang pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal hate crimes committed in February, 2012.
According to Bob Page, spokesman for the office of U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, 19-year-old Christopher Cain and 21-year-old Dorian Moragne were found to have beaten a man because of his sexual orientation.
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In court, it was determined Cain, Moragne, and a juvenile of the street gang approached a 20-year-old gay man when he left a grocery store in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of southwest Atlanta.
As Page reported, Cain punched the victim in the head and pushed him to the ground. Next, the victim was surrounded by Cain, Moragne and the juvenile as they repeatedly punched and kicked him.
The defendants yelled anti-gay remarks at the victim.
Moragne threw a tire at the victim, while the group stole his cell phone, Page said. A fourth person joined the group and recorded the abuse with a mobile phone. The video was posted online.
Page said in court, the three defendants admitted to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by the victim's sexual orientation.
Included in the federal hate crimes law is violence because of a person's race, color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity.
In 2012, Cain, Moragne and the juvenile (charged as an adult under Georgia's law), were prosecuted in Fulton County Superior Court for offenses other than hate crimes. Cain and Moragne were sentenced to a prison term of ten years suspended upon the service of five years. Federal prosecutors recommended that the sentences run consecutively.
"Violence against another person because of his or her sexual orientation has no place in our civilized society," Yates said. "The citizens of this district should know that we are committed aggressively prosecuting hate crimes."
"The FBI remains committed to ensuring the civil rights of all individuals, to include those singled out and attacked because of their perceived differences," Mark Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office said. "These acts of violence should be reported and aggressively investigated to ensure that we send a clear message that these actions will not be tolerated."