Attack at Swarthmore College a Hate Crime?

Beating occurs after student & his male friend share an affectionate moment, college says

By Kelly Bayliss and Dan Stamm
|  Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011  |  Updated 11:12 PM EDT
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Two men are attacked on the Swarthmore College campus. Police are now investigating whether the assault was a hate crime.

NBCPhiladelphia.com - David Hall

Two men are attacked on the Swarthmore College campus. Police are now investigating whether the assault was a hate crime.

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College officials say an on-campus assault of two men at Swarthmore College early Sunday morning may have been the result of a hate crime.

A Swarthmore student and his friend were on Mertz Field a little after midnight when they were kicked, punched and stomped by a group of teens -- four males and a female, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

The group of five to seven teens had asked the men to buy them alcohol before the beating, officials said.

But this attack could have been about more than just that.

Swarthmore College dean Liz Braun sent a letter to the college community on Tuesday saying the assault was possibly spurred by homophobia. She says the two men were being affectionate when they were assaulted.

"There were a number of factors involved," Braun said. "I do believe the homophobia may have been one factor in what happened.

Police Chief Brian Craig says the issue of homophobia was not raised in initial interviews with the victims.

"That's information that just surfaced yesterday," Craig said Wednesday. "Our officer will be doing follow-up investigations to find out if (homophobia) had anything to do with this particular incident."

Craig says that such an attack “would be out of character for this community," according to the Delco Times.

The victims suffered some cuts and bruises in the attack but were back in class Wednesday.

The investigation is continuing and anyone with info should contact Swarthmore Police at (610) 543-0123.

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