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
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.