Local man who beat up transgender woman for using bathroom goes to prison
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NEWPORT, Ore. — A man convicted of assaulting a transgender woman on the Oregon coast last summer will spend nearly six years in prison.
A Lincoln County judge sentenced Fred Costanza, of Blackfoot, Idaho, to 70 months in prison for the August 2019 attack on Lauren Jackson. A jury convicted Costanza on several charges last month, including a bias crime and a count of assault.
“In my moment of crisis, the city of Portland and the state of Oregon, the community, everyone has been — my heart is really full and warm and appreciative,” Jackson told KATU News after the sentencing.
During sentencing proceedings, prosecutors reiterated the physical injuries Jackson suffered. Phone calls made between Costanza and family and friends after his conviction were also played in court. Prosecutors sought to portray Costanza as not being remorseful.
“They found me guilty, man,” Costanza can be heard saying to someone in one phone call. “Just because, I guess a transgender’s rights are more important than a regular human, regular person’s you know?”
Costanza defended the calls saying they represented freedom of speech after he was convicted. Judge Sheryl Bachart thought otherwise.
“Your phone calls that were played here are disgusting,” she said. “They’re an incredible display of hate. It’s not about freedom of speech. It’s a little window into your soul, and it’s a dark place.”
Costanza addressed the court as well. He apologized to Jackson but maintained he assumed she was a man when he saw her use the women’s restroom.
“I saw a man,” he said. “I didn’t see a woman. I saw a man with a beard wearing a muscle shirt and jeans.”
However, prosecutors were quick to point out that Costanza was convicted of a bias crime by a jury of his peers.
“In our case, 12 people of different backgrounds, different ages, different life experience said, ‘We’re not going to tolerate this in our county’ by finding the defendant guilty of bias crime in the first degree,” said Lincoln County Deputy District Attorney Hollie Boggess.
Jackson chose not to dwell on the crime after court proceedings ended. She says she’s focused on helping those who are in her situation.
“We can make our society a safer place for transgender people and other marginalized communities,” she said.
This article first appeared on fellow CNN affiliate KATU. It is used here with permission.