Police have arrested two 14 year olds for allegedly spray painting an anti-gay slur on a northeast Salem home and car last month, targeting a peer who identifies as LGBTQ.
Salem Police said there was also graffiti on the driveway and a rock thrown through the window of the home.
The teens were taken to the Marion County Juvenile Department on “bias crime” charges on Aug. 20.
Salem Police Lt. Debbie Aguilar said the parent of the child targeted said he had been bullied because of his sexual identity.
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Salem Keizer Public Schools spokeswoman Lillian Govus said the school has reached out to the victim and put a safety plan in place to ensure the student feels safe.
“I personally spoke to the mother when we had our table at the Capitol Pride event, and a staff member is who a member of the LGBTQ community is assigned to support the child at school. We’ve also been in communication with PFLAG about supports,” Govus said in an email.
This legislative session, lawmakers made it easier to prosecute offenders who commit crimes based on things like race, gender or sexual orientation. They also increased the penalties.
Law enforcement officials couldn’t comment on the specifics of the graffiti case because it involves minors, and are withholding the names of the alleged offenders.
According to FBI crime statistics, there were five hate crimes reported in Salem in 2017. One of those incidents was motivated by sexual orientation.
Five years ago, there were more than triple the amount of hate crimes reported in the area. Of the 14 reported, four were motivated by sexual orientation.
Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250 or [email protected].