UPDATED: Appleton police make arrest in hate crime assault

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pruett

Tom Pruett.

UPDATED: Police have arrested a man for an anti-LGBT attack on June 3 at Jones Park in Appleton, Wis.

The Fox Valley & Oshkosh Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Anti-Violence Project said the victim suffered “substantial injuries, including broken bones in the face.”

Authorities have arrested Tom Pruett of Appleton in connection with the assault. Pruett faces a charge of substantial battery-hate crime, a felony, and disorderly conduct-hate crime.

The AVP, in a press statement, said, “We applaud the actions of Appleton Police Department and the Outagamie County district’s attorney’s office for their swift and thorough response and their sensitivity to the victim of the crime.”

The defendant, according to the AVP, used slurs, assailing the victim’s perceived sexual orientation and gender identity while committing the physical assault.

Kathy Flores, of both the AVP and Appleton's diversity coordinator, said the individual, who identifies as gender variant, was in the park at about 7:30 p.m. when the assailant began shouting "faggot" and "queer" and began beating the victim.

She said the victim suffered a broken orbital bone and suffered massive bruises, contusions and was bleeding. She also said that the defendant, who was homeless, had punched the victim in the eye the night before.

"We still have so much hate against people just trying to be themselves," said Flores.

Pruett made a court appearance on June 5 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in court on June 13.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs recently released a report documenting continued hate violence against LGBTQ people in the United States in 2012.

The report, “Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2012,” was compiled using information from anti-violence programs around the country. The Fox Valley/Oshkosh LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project is a member of the national coalition.

Overall, according to the report, rates of reports of anti-LGBT violence remained steady in 2012.

From the document:

• 2,016 incidents reported in 2012

• 25 homicides of LGBTQ people documented, the fourth highest yearly total recorded.

• Transgender women, people of color and gay men face the most severe violence.

• LGBTQ people report substantial police misconduct when engaging with the police.