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Criminal Justice

Students face hate-crime charge in alleged bullying of roommate

Posted Nov 22, 2013 8:13 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Three college students in California have been charged with hate crime and battery offenses in the alleged bullying of a roommate that began after an orientation that included cultural sensitivity training.

The three white students at San Jose State University were charged on Wednesday after telling police their actions were jokes and pranks, according to police reports cited by the San Jose Mercury News. The Associated Press also has a story that is based on the Mercury News account.

The alleged victim, now 18, was the only black in the dorm suite with seven white males, the story says. The charged students allegedly began their harassment by calling the victim “three-fifths,” referring to the way the government considered blacks a fraction of a person.

The white students are also accused of putting up a Confederate flag, using furniture to barricade the victim in his room, and writing the N-word on a dry-erase board. They are also accused of wrestling the roommate to the ground and putting a bicycle lock around his neck.

Investigators also found a swastika and a pentagram in the apartment, apparently intended to alarm the victim, who was Christian, the stories report.

The three men who were charged are Logan Beaschler and Colin Warren, both 18, and Joseph Bomgardner, 19. The charges carry a penalty of up to a year in jail.

The victim told the Mercury News he was so frightened by his roommates that he locked his door at night, but he didn’t report the alleged harassment in hopes it would stop. His parents contacted university police after seeing the flag and the racial epithet on the dry-erase board.

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