Hate Crime Charges Applied to California Gang Rape Case
January 7, 2009 - 12:51 PM2 Men, Teen Charged in Gang Rape of Calif. Lesbian
Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 31, and Josue Gonzalez, 21, were charged with kidnapping, carjacking and gang rape in the attack last month in Richmond.
Hate-crime enhancements were added to charges against Salvador, which could mean a more severe sentence if he is convicted. Authorities say the woman was taunted for being a lesbian during the 45-minute assault. Salvador was also charged with being armed with a gun.
The pair did not enter pleas when they appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court, but they asked to be represented by court-appointed attorneys. Bail was set at $2.2 million for Salvador and $1.9 million for Gonzalez. Both were being held at the county jail.
They face a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty, prosecutors said.
Darrell Hodges, 16, was charged as an adult with similar offenses Monday. A 15-year-old boy whose name has not been released was also arrested last week on suspicion of participating in the attack.
The woman, who lives with a female partner, was attacked Dec. 13 after she got out of her car, according to investigators. She was raped multiple times inside and outside the vehicle and left naked outside an abandoned building, police said.
Richmond police say they have received hundreds of calls from across the country offering money and support for the woman.
"The crimes that were committed at face value were shocking," Lt. Mark Gagan said. "But when it was revealed there was also a hate crime enhancement, it really prompted outcry."
Richmond is a city of about 100,000 across the bay from San Francisco, It has one of California's highest homicide rates.
Gay rights advocates and bloggers have highlighted the attack as an example of violence against gays and lesbians. Supporters have also been working to raise money for the woman, her partner and her daughter as they deal with the trauma of the attack.
"The idea that a peace-loving lesbian was minding her own business, was attacked and gang-raped is an outrage. And people are stepping forward," said Betty Sullivan of San Francisco, who runs a Web site and e-mail list publicizing gay and lesbian events.
Sullivan is publicizing several fundraisers for the woman, known among her supporters as Richmond Jane Doe. Support is driven not just by anger but by a sense among gays and lesbians that they, too, could have been targets, she said.
"We know it could have been any of us," Sullivan said.
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