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Transgender woman and priest attacked

Four Queens teens who viciously attacked and repeatedly beat a transgender woman and a priest who had come to her defense were charged with assault and might face hate crime charges, according the Queens District Attorney’s office.
On Monday, July 7, around 10:30 p.m. the suspects who were out walking noticed a woman dancing to her iPod music at 31-14 Steinway Street - right in front of Carmen’s Place, a transgender and gay shelter where she resides.
The teens approached the woman, Alessandra-Michelle Carver, 21, and, according to her, upon discovering that she is transgender - after hearing her male voice - said, “That’s a dude.” “Excuse me? I’m not a dude - I’m transgender,” Carver responded.
She said the guys laughed at her answer and each one grabbed from a pile of trash bags on the ground and began hitting her with the garbage bags.
A few minutes later Father Louis Braxton, who runs the shelter, came over and asked the guys to leave, Carver said. They did, but returned within a few minutes; they hit Braxton in the back of the head with an empty paint bucket, Carver said.
Braxton fell down, but they kept hitting him with a studded belt and a miter saw, among other objects, Carver said.
While she was trying to get help from other shelter residents, the teens ran away screaming other gender-based obscenities, Carver said.
The fleeing suspects were immediately apprehended by nearby Metropolitan Transit Authority police officers who had witnessed the assault on the priest, Carver explained.
Two of the teens – Tyreek Childs and Shara Mozie – are 17 and from Long Island City, and one, Trevaughn Payne, 16, is from Astoria, a spokesperson for the DA said. No information has been released about the fourth suspect because he is 15. The teens were charged with third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal weapon possession, and harassment in the second degree.
“The case is being investigated to determine whether the charges should be upgraded to include hate crime,” said Helen Peterson of the DA’s office. “They face up to a year in prison if convicted,” she added. They are due in court on August 13.
They were arraigned on July 8 and released without bail.
“I am shocked that on such a busy street an attack like that could occur,” said Braxton, who is now recovering from his bruises after being treated at Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens.
“We need to educate people on the rights of transgender people,” Braxton said.

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