Police: 10th Man Arrested in NYC Anti-Gay Beatings

October 12, 2010 - 3:54 PM

Ruddy Vargas-Perez

Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22, the ninth and final suspect in a gang related hate crime, is led from the Bronx Borough detective headquarters after he was arrested Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

New York (AP) - A 10th person was arrested Tuesday after investigators said they discovered more people were involved in brutal attacks on four people that authorities believe were touched off because gang members thought one of their recruits was gay.

Jose Dominguez, 22, surrendered to detectives and was arrested on charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment and aggravated harassment as hate crimes. It wasn't clear if he had an attorney. No one answered the phone at an address provided by police.

A suspect who was arrested Monday on similar charges, Ruddy Vargas-Perez, was awaiting a court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

Police say Dominguez and Vargas-Perez participated in at least one of the attacks on two teens and two men on Oct. 3.

Members of a street gang who called themselves the Latin King Goonies targeted a 30-year-old gay man after he apparently had a sexual encounter with one of their recruits.

The 17-year-old was beaten and sodomized with the handle of a plunger until he confessed to his involvement with the older man, authorities said. The mob later went after the 30-year-old, luring him to an abandoned apartment they used for partying, where they tied him to a chair and assaulted him, police said.

Another 17-year-old was also attacked because it was believed he too had an encounter with the 30-year-old man, and the older man's brother was also attacked after gang members went to their shared apartment and robbed the place of cash and a TV, police said.

Eight of the men were arraigned Sunday on hate-crime charges including assault, sexual abuse and harassment. They did not enter pleas. Two attorneys represented them at the hearing but didn't expect to represent all of them through the legal process. Family members have said the men are innocent.

Vargas-Perez was taken into custody after his attorney had told authorities he would be surrendering to police on Tuesday. He had failed previously to show up as promised.

"He's innocent of all the charges," said his aunt, Nancy Perez, who spoke in Spanish when reached by phone on Monday night. "He was raised in a loving family."

She denied he was a member of a gang and said her nephew works in construction.

The beatings in the Bronx, plus the recent string of anti-gay attacks and teen suicides elsewhere attributed to homophobic bullying, have drawn rebukes from government leaders and gay advocates.