Seattle – Jay Dee Harp III faced a judge and his victims at his arraignment in King County Superior Court on January 16th for the December 30th attack of a lesbian couple at CenturyLink field during a Seattle Seahawks football game. The charge was upgraded to a hate crime the previous week.

After leaving several times to buy beer, stepping on the women’s toes and making sexual comments, in the third quarter, the man returned with another beer, but this time stopped as he passed the couple, unzipped one woman’s jacket, grabbed her breast and refused to let go, according to the charges. The woman’s wife and several nearby fans intervened, taking the man to the ground. During the scuffle, he punched one of the women in the face, bloodying her nose and breaking her front tooth, the charges allege. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged Jay Harp with assault in the second degree and malicious harassment, the hate crime statute in Washington state. Malicious harassment and assault in the second degree are both felony charges.

During the hearing, the victims, Melissa and Jae, were joined by their friend and advocate, Mac McGregor, who was able to get this statement from them: “Purchasing tickets to this football game was not intended to end in pain and a complete disruption to our lives. While intolerance and hatred toward us and our community are not new concepts, we have never been targeted or even looked at sideways while attending a Seattle Seahawks game …. [t]o behave so aggressively towards complete strangers over a hatred for their sexuality is a scary display of the defendant’s lack of self-control. For that key aspect we believe this individual presents a risk to the safety of other LGBTQ community members. This event while not only physically painful is extremely traumatizing and emotionally draining.” (Seattle Gay News – MK Scott at Sgn.org/sgnnews47_04/page1.cfm)

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