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Seven Arrested In Connection With Attacks On Three Gay Men

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TWC News: Seven Arrested In Connection With Attacks On Three Gay Men
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Seven men are under arrest and two more suspects are at large after police say they abducted, beat and sexually assaulted three gay men and robbed a fourth man in the Bronx earlier this week.

Police say at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, nine members of the Latin King Goonies gang grabbed a 17-year-old boy off the street and forced him into the ground floor of a vacant apartment at 1910 Osborne Place in Morris Heights.

Police commissioner Ray Kelly said the teen victim was an aspiring member of the gang.

"He was thrown into a wall, made to strip naked, hit in the head with a beer can, cut with a box cutter and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger," Kelly said Friday.

The seven who were arrested were Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; David Rivera, 21; three 17-year-old boys and two 16-year-old boys. They are expected to be arraigned today on charges of kidnapping, robbery, assault and sodomy -- all as hate crimes.

Two suspects, 23-year-old Elmer Confessor and 22-year-old Rudy Vargas-Perez, are still being sought.

Police say the gang members staged a similar attack on another 17-year-old boy later on Sunday and finally grabbed a 30-year-old man both teens had had a relationship with.

The gang members allegedly forced the teen to burn the 30-year-old man with cigarettes, forced the 30-year-old to drink 10 cans of malt liquor, beat him with chains and sodomized him with a baseball bat.

"One of the suspects said later the [30-year-old] man was beaten for hours and then dumped outside of his home. These suspects had employed terrible wolf pack odds of 9-1," said Ray Kelly. "Odds that reveled them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable."

Kelly said the suspects also took the 30-year-old victim's keys, went to his apartment and beat and robbed his older brother.

The attacks came less than a week after a man was allegedly beaten and insulted for being gay in the restroom of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, where the gay rights movement was launched in 1969.

Less than two weeks ago, a Rutgers university freshman killed himself after his roommate posted Internet video of him having a sexual encounter with another man.

Local leaders denounce these hate crimes in and around the city.

"The hate crimes that have recently been reported are quite literally some of the most horrifying hate crimes I can ever remember in this city's history," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay.

The victims in the most recent alleged hate crimes were afraid to come forward. A witness notified police, helping lead to the capture of the suspects.

"Whoever done this should be punished, and hopefully they can find a way to stop them," said a local resident.

Anyone with information on these cases should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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