HATE CRIME

Hookup App Encounter Leaves Texas Gay Man Brutally Beaten

hookup-app-hate-crimeThe small town of Springtown, Texas experienced its first possible hate crime after a same-sex casual encounter turned unexpectedly violent.

Aaron Keahy, 24, met Brice Johnson, 18, through the social networking app, MeetMe, and — thinking that Johnson was gay or bisexual — about an hour later Keahy went over to the teen’s house during the early morning on Labor Day. However, Keahy said he was immediately ambushed, leaving him with nerve damage, knocked out teeth and broken bones that required plastic surgery.

“He started getting all frustrated and talking all angrily,” he told San Antonio’s KENS5. “I don’t remember anything after that.”

In an interesting twist, Johnson claims he doesn’t remember anything either, though police say they received a 911 call from the teen. He told them he found Keahy outside of his house in the trunk of a car and drove the victim to get medical help. Police later arrested Johnson, charging him with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.

Police are charging the incident as a possible hate crime, a first for the town of less than 3,000 people. “I’ve been up here altogether 10 years, and this is the first hate crime or possible hate crime that I’ve investigated,” said Springtown police Lt. Curtis Stone. Because neither Johnson nor Keahy remember the attack, Stone doesn’t “have any answers” for Keahy’s injuries.

Johnson had been spending the summer with his friend, Darcel Cummings, whose family often takes in troubled teens. Cummings, however, had never “seen him be violent or upset towards anybody.” As for Keahy, he’s learned a hard and painful lesson: “Just don’t meet anybody online,” he said. “Don’t trust them.”