Nebraska Hate Crime Possibly Staged

Crime scene photo (Via Facebook)

I saw this story last week, and was immediately suspicious, given that there have been other high-profile hate crime hoaxes, and that the details of the victims condition didn’t preclude the possibility that the whole ordeal was self-inflicted.

(CNN) — Three masked men allegedly bound a woman and carved words into her skin, police in Lincoln, Nebraska, said Monday.

The incident has been classified as a hate crime because a derogatory term for lesbians was painted inside the home, said Officer Katie Flood, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.

Someone had carved words into the woman’s body, police said, but investigators declined to elaborate. In addition, someone poured gasoline around the house and lit it, but the fire did little damage, police said.

After the attack, the woman made her way to the home of a neighbor, Linda Rappl, who said she feared bad news about her husband, who is in hospice, when she heard someone knocking on her door before dawn Sunday.

“I was in shock,” Rappl said. “She was naked, her hands were tied with zip ties. All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down.”

It looked like she had endured torture, Rappl said.

“Some of the blood that was on her — that had run down her legs — was dried so I don’t know how long it was before she got away.”

When word got out about the attack — and the words carved into the woman’s skin and painted onto the walls — people responded with anger and sadness on social media.

I had actually considered posting about the story and noting the possibility that it was a hoax, but decided against it. I figured that soon enough we would know whether the story would hold up. Via Gateway Pundit comes word that victims story may not be true. The reports:

Police continue to investigate Sunday’s reported hate crime but say they haven’t ruled out the possibility that the 33-year-old woman staged the attack.

Chief Jim Peschong told the Journal Star investigators were not certain an attack took place, but he said Tuesday it was too early to tell whether the attack was a hoax. Police have no suspects, the chief said.

Capt. Jim Davidsaver said later the FBI had joined the investigation, and an agent was at the department Tuesday.

A 33-year-old Near South woman told police three masked men burst into her house Sunday morning, bound her with zip ties, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light her house on fire, according to the woman’s friend, who spoke to the Journal Star on Sunday.

…According to [a friend, Dawn] Thorfinnson, the woman’s attackers told her they targeted her after watching her perform with a 5-year-old girl during Omaha’s Gay Pride Parade on June 30. The woman lip-synced Elton John’s “Your Song” while the child danced in a tutu.

During the festivities, the woman was named to a position of prominence, Thorfinnson said. She wanted to champion tolerance and make the world a better place for future generations of gays and lesbians.

“It’s really sad she was attacked for being with kids when it’s the children she’s really focused on,” Thorfinnson said. “That’s why she wanted to do any event during Pride where we’re raising kids in a world of acceptance and tolerance instead of hate.”

The Lincoln and Omaha LGBT community had already started raising funds for the victim. I hope they have a plan for returning the donations if the story does turn out to be false.

Update: Updated the title to reflect that the location of the crime wasn’t Omaha, but Lincoln.

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