JP man charged with New Year’s hate crime

January 8, 2010
By

John Ruch

Cops: Lesbian couple attacked for kissing

FOREST HILLS—A Jamaica Plain man is charged with a hate crime after allegedly attacking a local lesbian couple for holding hands and kissing on Weld Hill Street a few hours into the New Year.

Herbert A. Malloy of 6 Weld Hill St. faces up to 10 years in prison for allegedly leaping from a parked truck and punching one of the women in the face. He was released without bail this week pending trial and ordered to stay away from the couple.

“This was a hate crime against our sexual orientation,” one of the women told the Gazette in a phone interview with the couple. “You might think [anti-gay hate crime] happens in Southie or Western Mass. or out in the boondocks somewhere. You don’t expect it to happen in JP.”

Both women also live in Forest Hills at separate addresses and wished to remain anonymous in this article, saying they still fear for their safety. The Gazette will refer to them as “Jane” and “Mary,” which are not their real names.

Malloy has no listed phone number and did not respond to a Gazette note left at his house, where no one answered the door. Malloy’s attorney, Jude Kostas, did not return a Gazette phone call.

Jane and Mary said that the attack actually was started by a female companion of Malloy, who screamed about their “disgusting” behavior and hit them with a handbag. That woman, whom the Boston Police Department (BPD) declined to identify to the Gazette, has not been charged with any crime at this point.

In fact, Malloy’s companion filed her own report claiming that Jane and Mary are the ones who did the attacking. “The woman the next day was saying, ‘We were, in fact, the victims,’” said BPD spokesperson Officer James Kenneally. But, he said, no charges have been filed against Jane and Mary.

“There are conflicting stories about what happened,” Kenneally said. “One person [Malloy] was arrested. He’ll have his day in court, and we’ll go from there.”

Malloy was arrested after allegedly telling police officers that he was outraged by seeing the couple “‘doing all that mess,’” Kenneally said. That apparently meant that Malloy was “offended by a display of affection,” Kenneally said.

Malloy is charged with “violation of constitutional rights”—the state’s hate crime law. “He was charged only with a civil rights violation, but additional complaints may be sought as the investigation proceeds,” said Jake Wark, spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Jane and Mary said they and the BPD’s hate crimes investigator were surprised that Malloy’s alleged companion was not charged as well. “She even stated, ‘Arrest me,’” Jane said, quoting the BPD’s official crime report.

Jane was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. “We were both injured. He cut my right cheek open,” Jane said.

Jane and Mary are in their mid-20s. Malloy is reportedly more than twice their age and weights. “I’m five-three and a lot smaller than both [Malloy and his companion],” said Jane.

The attack

Around 3 a.m. on Jan. 1, Jane and Mary walked from Hyde Park Avenue up Weld Hill Street, holding hands and kissing. They passed a pick-up truck that was parked with its engine running—in front of Malloy’s address, as it turned out—and a man and woman inside. Police and prosecutors later identified the man as Malloy. The woman in the truck rolled down the window.

“[The woman] started yelling at us, saying, ‘How dare you do this!’” said Jane.

“We didn’t even notice the people [in the truck] until they started screaming when we were holding hands and kissing,” said Mary.

“I asked her what her problem was,” said Jane. “She got out of the car and started swinging at my face with her handbag.”

Mary attempted to step between them to shield Jane. The woman then allegedly attacked Mary as well, hitting her in the face with the handbag at least three times.

At that point, “The man got out of the car, ran toward me, pushed me and punched me in the face twice,” said Jane.

The man and woman continued hurling insults as well as blows, said Jane and Mary, though they could not remember the exact terms.

“You’re in shock when you’re watching someone you care about getting hit in the face,” said Mary.

“I remember them saying something about how it was disgusting that [we] could do this,” Jane said.

Jane said another woman came out onto the porch of a nearby house. They called to her for help, but that unidentified woman turned out to be a friend of the man and woman and began screaming at Jane and Mary as well, Jane said.

Jane and Mary then started to flee, while Mary called 911. At that point, the man “put his hand in his pocket, and I saw something shiny,” said Mary. “I obviously did not want to find out what it was.”

They began running up Weld Hill Street, and the man allegedly chased them. “He started chasing us, I believe, because he realized we were calling the cops,” Jane said. When the couple reached the top of the hill, he stopped chasing them, she said.

Three days after the attack, Jane and Mary told the Gazette that they remain traumatized, especially after learning that the suspect is local. “They’re our neighbors,” Jane said, adding they had never seen the man and his companion before.

Mary said the attack is affecting how the couple interacts in public. On another recent walk together, she said, “I saw a gentleman with a very similar physical description [to their attacker]. My whole body tensed up.”

“JP is very community-oriented. You say ‘hi’ to people,” Mary said. “I’ve lived in JP for four years. I’ve never felt not safe walking home at night.”

“I walk down the street where they live every single day,” Mary said of Malloy and his alleged companion. “I don’t feel safe in my own neighborhood.”

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