BY NATASHA BARSOTTI - The Duluth News Tribune reports that two men, aged 18 and 19, have been arrested in connection with the alleged assault of a 21-year-old gay man in an abandoned gravel pit in New Independence Township on May 26.

The attack on Max Pelofske occurred at a gathering of former and current Proctor High School students in the pit, according to the News Tribune.

The report quotes Pelofske as saying a man asked him, "Are you gay? And I said, 'Yes. Is that OK?'" Pelofske told the News Tribune that he was then struck on the head with a beer can and surrounded by a crowd of boys who allegedly threw him to the ground and punched and kicked him. 

A witness to the attack and a friend of Pelofske's, Kelly Johnson, says the attack lasted between five and 10 minutes and involved at least nine boys.

Pelofske, who later underwent a CAT scan, reported that his ribs were sore, his face was swollen and foot marks covered his back and legs.

Pelofske's and Johnson's account is at odds with that of another witness, identified as Megan Bird, who told the News Tribune that Pelofske is the one who started the confrontation, alleging he stole drinks, threw a bottle that hit another person and pushed one of the men, who was later arrested. Bird says she didn't hear anyone ask Pelofske if he was gay, the report states.

Johnson maintains that a large group attacked Pelofske. Moreover, she and Pelofske requested breath tests when police arrived to rule out that they had been drinking, the report further noted.

According to the Tribune, police say a 19-year-old is being held pending charges, which could indicate a crime of bias, while the charges against the 18-year-old are still unknown. 

News of the attack was soon picked up by social media, and a We Support Max Facebook page has been created.

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