2 Arrested in Bronx Bias Crime Were Actually Victims: Prosecutors

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP Images
    A police vehicle secures the abandoned home that served as a clubhouse, and allegedly a torture chamber, for a street gang accused of trapping and brutalizing three gay men is seen, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/David Karp)

    Bronx prosecutors now believe two teens initially charged in anti-gay gang attacks in the Bronx were actually victims.

    Authorities dropped charges against Bryan Almonte and Brian Cepeda several weeks ago. They were arrested with nine others after the Oct. 3 attacks.

    Prosecutors said Thursday they've determined that Almonte and Cepeda were present during the attacks, but were victims.

    Six suspects have pleaded not guilty to a total of 75 charges in the case. A seventh suspect was awaiting arraignment
    Thursday.

    Authorities say the attacks were touched off because gang members thought one of their recruits was gay. A 17-year-old was beaten and sodomized with a plunger handle, police say. Another 17-year-old also thought to be gay was attacked, and a 30-year-old and his brother were beaten as well.

    Cops rounded up nearly a dozen suspects -- allegedly members of a gang which calls itself the Latin King Goonies, and suspects ranged in age from 16 to 23.  The men faced charges that include unlawful imprisonment, assault and robbery, all as hate crimes.

    The 17-year-old was beaten and sodomized until he confessed to his involvement with the older man, authorities said. The mob later went after the 30-year-old, luring him to an abandoned apartment they used for partying, where they tied him to a chair and assaulted him, police said.

    Another 17-year-old was also attacked because it was believed he, too, had an encounter with the man. The older man's brother was also attacked after gang members went to their shared apartment and stole cash and a TV, police said.