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Long Island Men Charged With Hate Crime After Attacking Lesbian Couple

August 11, 2023

The couple was attacked while they were watching the sunset.

Suffolk County Police have arrested two men for assaulting and harassing a lesbian couple in Patchogue, Long Island.

The couple, each age 29, was watching the sunset at Mascot Dock on South Ocean Avenue when two men shouted anti-lesbian remarks from their car. Then, the first man punched one of the women while the second man attempted to push the other woman into the water and then threw her phone in the water. Both women were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a nearby hospital.

The incident was picked up by the Suffolk County Hate Crimes Unit, and Thomas Gair Jr., 66, of Patchogue and Joseph Kess, 40, of Patchogue were arrested for Assault 3rd Degree as a Hate Crime and two counts of Aggravated Harassment 2nd Degree and Assault 3rd Degree as a Hate Crime, Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree as a Hate Crime, and Aggravated Harassment 2nd Degree, respectively.

“It is unacceptable that two people cannot enjoy a night out without being intimidated, ridiculed, and physically assaulted because of the victims’ sexual orientation,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said. “There is no room for hate in this county, and we will continue to arrest those who target individuals based on personal biases,” he continued.

“It is despicable that two young women couldn’t peacefully enjoy a beautiful spring sunset by the bay without allegedly being verbally and physically attacked simply because of their sexual orientation,” said District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. “There is no place for bigotry in Suffolk County, and my office will do everything in its power to ensure that perpetrators of hate crimes such as the one alleged here are held accountable.”

While the two men have been arrested, the investigation is still on-going. Community leaders have reported a “dramatic increase” in hate crimes and bias-related incidents on Long Island.

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