Kentucky lesbian student was kidnapped by classmates and taken to a remote area south of Lexington, Ky., where they beat her and tried to push her off a cliff.
By Paula Brooks
A gay rights advocacy group says the Kentucky lesbian student who was kidnapped by three of her classmates and taken to a remote area 60 miles south of Lexington, Ky., where they beat her and tried to push her off a cliff – did it because of a pact made by her assailants to make Cheyenne Williams change her sexual orientation.
The group also says that this is not the first incident of its kind at Jackson County High School.
In a statement released today by Jordan Palmer and the Kentucky Equality Federation, who is now, per the request of the victim’s mother, the sole spokesman for all media outlets regarding the attack, said Corinne Schwab and Ashley Sams, both 18 and a 17-year-old girl — not named because she is a minor — told the victim they had given her six months to change her sexual orientation.According to KEF, the assailants made this pack between themselves and the Williams was never made aware of this until the day of the assault.
Williams, a Kentucky lesbian student in Jackson County was taken to Flat Lick Falls, a remote area about 60 mile southeast of Lexington, Ky, on the pretext they were taking her to a job interview last Friday afternoon, where they beat, and choked her and then attempted to push Williams off a 50-foot cliff.
Williams allegedly broke free by fending her attackers off with a stick.
However during the struggle a large rock was thrown at her by the attackers, and in trying to dodge it, she fell back on several large rocks injuring her back. The attackers eventually took Williams to a near by restaurant and dropped her off, warning her not to say anything.
The Kentucky State police issued a news release Tuesday that says Williams was “taken against her will to the Flat Lick Falls area” where she was assaulted and that the other three girls “attempted to push her over a cliff, which could have resulted in serious physical injury or death.”
State Police Detective Joie Peters said, all the girls have been friends since sixth grade and school officials say that there has never seemingly been a problem between them. One of the alleged attackers roomed with Williams on a senior trip to Key West, Fla., and the Bahamas three weeks ago.
However, Det. Peters said this week, he has not uncovered evidence the attack constituted a hate crime and it appears the incident began as a practical joke that got out of hand.
According to Kentucky Equality Federation however this incident was anything but a prank, and say that Williams now cannot sleep at night, and has been prescribed medication for anxiety, nightmares, and inability to sleep, and added that Ms Williams is seeing a professional therapist for counseling about these events.
Kentucky Equality Federation also say Williams has problems with her back as a result of the attack and has been prescribed medication for back pain as well and will likely have to undergo physical therapy.
Williams never had any of these problems before the attack, according to the statement.
Williams mother also said Thursday she is concerned her daughter wouldn’t be safe if she returned to finish her senior year and will not allow her to return to Jackson County High.
In an interview today, Richard T. Jones, the Kentucky Equality Federation Special Assistant to the President for Communications and Administration (Jordan Palmer), told LGR that Kentucky Equality Federation will be providing the family financial assistant to file a civil suit also for pain, suffering, and mental anguish and that KEF does not agree with the state police assessment that the assault on Williams was not a hate crime.
“They gave her six months to change her sexual orientation, it did not change of course, so they took the action they took,” said Jones.
Jones also noted that is not the call of the state police to determine if a hate crime has occurred, “Contrary to the statements the Kentucky State Police have made, under KRS 532.031, only a Judge may determinate if a hate crime occurred when a person or persons commit a criminal offense based on race, religion, disability, ethnicity, or sexual orientation,” said Jones.
Jones also told LGR that this is not the first time KEF has received complaints from Jackson County High School and said there had one particular incident several years ago, when a student said he was bringing a gun to school to kill two lesbian students who had been dating.
“We are aware that school officials have stated that they had no knowledge of any threats before the incident on April 21, 2010 with Cheyenne Williams but this is not the first time incidents and threats have happened at Jackson County, there have been several complaints originating from this school”, said Jones.
Jones also said if the Judge does not rule this a hate crime under the laws of the Commonwealth, KEF will try to elevate this to a federal level under the new hate crimes law signed last year by President Obama.
However according to Jones, Kentucky Equality Federation will bring all available political pressure to bear to get the Commonwealth’s Attorney to treat this as the hate crime it is.
“We know what is on the tape which the prosecutor will not allow the media access to,” said Jones.