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Hate crime in Baltimore County McDonald's puts teen in prison

Back in May, we shared the story about a transgender woman who reported that she was assaulted in a local McDonald's. If you are from Baltimore County, it is likely that you saw coverage of this story from various news sources, largely due to the fact that there was a video of the alleged attack that went viral.

Two suspects were named in the investigation, one of them only 14 years old. She's faced her consequences through the juvenile system, and the focus of the criminal trial was an 18-year-old woman. The matter turned into more than a standard assault case; it was classified as a hate crime. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge in August and faced the court's sentencing decision on Tuesday.

In the previous post about this case, we shared information about how Maryland looks at hate crimes and differentiates them from other offenses. A person can be charged with a hate crime if their actions were seemingly motivated by hate for someone of a certain color, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin.

In this case, the court believed that there was enough evidence to assume that the defendant's actions against the victim were inspired by her bias against transgender people. That conclusion was reportedly met based on the video recording that a McDonald's employee took. The victim also says that she had never met the defendants before the assault.

Being charged and convicted of a hate crime carries with it harsh consequences. The defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with half of the time suspended. But five years for a woman who is only 18 will make a significant difference in her life. She has apologized for her actions, but at this point the victim hasn't been able to accept the apology.

Source "Woman Gets Prison Time For McDonald's Beating," Sep. 13, 2011

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