Blackfoot man who beat transgender woman for using bathroom is guilty of hate crime
Amanda Watts and Scottie Andrew, CNN
Published at | Updated at
(CNN) — An man who beat a transgender woman for using the women’s restroom was found guilty of a hate crime.
Fred Constanza was convicted in an Oregon court for first-degree bias crime, second-degree assault and harassment for the August attack on Lauren Jackson, a transgender woman.
Jackson was visiting Agate State Beach Park near Newport, Oregon, on the day of the attack. She stopped to use the women’s restroom — and that’s when Costanza walked over 100 yards across the park to confront her, multiple witnesses told Newport police.
Costanza hit Jackson 10 times, police said. She told them he was holding her hair back to prevent her from escaping.
Newport police found Jackson bleeding from her face with a broken jaw after Constanza had fled the scene. He was arrested later that day.
Constanza, 37, of Blackfoot, Idaho, entered a not-guilty plea in September. He remained jailed in Lincoln County, Oregon, until his January trial, the Oregonian reported.
A week after his trial began on January 22, a jury found him guilty on three counts.
CNN has reached out to Constanza’s attorney but hasn’t heard back.
About two months before Jackson’s assault, Oregon lawmakers updated the state’s existing hate crime legislation to include “gender identity” as a protected class. According to the FBI’s most recent hate crime data, around 6% of the victims in the 120 hate crimes reported in Oregon in 2018 were targeted because of their gender identity.
The victim had surgery to repair face fractures
After the attack in August, Lauren Jackson told CNN affiliate KATU she spent time in the hospital, recovering from fractures in her jaw and a surgery to repair them.
She started transitioning to female over a year ago, she said. She had recently moved to Portland to embrace the life change.
“All of a sudden being pretty is very important to me,” she said jokingly to KATU. “I’m having a rough start.”
Jackson said Constanza approached her, yelling something about her being a woman. She said nothing in response.
He “blindsided” her, she said, repeatedly punching her until someone in the park heard her screams and tackled Constanza, who fled in a car.
“Do you have to take away somebody else’s rights in order to protect someone’s rights? Is one more important than the other? I don’t know. I don’t feel safe using the men’s restroom. And other people don’t feel safe having me in the women’s restroom,” she said.
Jackson said the incident hasn’t stopped her from living as herself — or from using the restroom of the gender she identifies with.
“I believe that people are inherently good and that I live in a kind world,” she said. “I don’t think I did anything wrong, and I don’t want to live in fear. I came here searching for community, and I found it. “