U.S. makes first indictment for hate crime based on sexual orientation

A U.S. federal grand jury has issued the first-ever indictment to charge a violation of the sexual orientation section of the federal hate crimes law, know as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

A statement from the U.S. Justice Department noted that a federal grand jury in London, Ky., returned a three-count indictment charging Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, and David Jason Jenkins, 37, for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Pennington, an openly gay man.

Task Force Deputy Executive Director Darlene Nipper said:

Laws embody the values of our nation. The federal hate crimes law sends a clear and unequivocal message that our country will stand against all forms of hate violence, including crimes motivated by hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The Task Force has been a key leader in the effort to secure an effective and full government response to hate crimes against LGBT people in the United States, beginning with the launch of its groundbreaking anti-violence project in 1982, up to today’s victory. Get more details here about the Task Force’s longtime work on hate crimes.