A 20-year-old Peterborough man is charged after a 17-year-old youth was targeted with homophobic comments and threats on March 16, say Peterborough Lakefield Police.
“He was being teased. There were homophobic comments. The suspects wrote comments on his hat with a black marker. That’s mischief. When he reported, he got a threatening email over Facebook. That’s uttering threats,” says Peterborough Lakefield Police spokesperson Sgt Walter DiClemente.
DiClemente points out that making homophobic comments is not illegal in and of itself, but he says police are treating this case seriously.
“We treat this as a hate-bias incident. I can’t say whether the victim was gay or not. But we’re hoping when it goes to court, the judge will consider he may have been targeted,” he says.
DiClemente also says threats do not have to be made in person for charges to be laid.
“Threats are easier to prove when it’s over Facebook or Twitter or when it’s texted to someone. Whereas, when someone says it verbally, you have to remember what they said. You’re getting it real time. You cannot threaten someone over any source of communication,” he says.
Daniel Cook of Huntington Circle is scheduled to make a court appearance April 7 for uttering threats and mischief.