Queens County Grand Jury Indicts Two on Hate Crime Charges in Brutal Beating of Leslie Mora

On June 19, 2009, Leslie Mora was attacked by two men motivated by anti-transgender bias.  We've been working with her since that time to ensure that she receives a measure of justice.  While the wheels of justice may turn slowly, they do eventually turn.  On November 20, a Queens County grand jury indicted the two men accused of brutally beating her on hate crime charges.

Leslie was walking home from a nightclub on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights around 2:30 a.m. on June 19, 2009, at the height of LGBT Pride month, when two men accosted her and brutally beat her with a belt. They stopped only when a passing motorist threatened to call the police. Leslie's assailants repeatedly used anti-gay and anti-transgender slurs against her in Spanish. The attack left Leslie with multiple injuries, including bruises all over her body, and stitches in her scalp.  Police called to the scene found Leslie nearly naked and bleeding on the sidewalk. They also recovered a belt buckle from the assailants that was covered in blood.

Leslie’s assailants, Trinidad Tapia, 19, and Gilberto Ortiz, 32, fled the scene, but police arrested them soon after the attack. Both were charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, and released on their own recognizance.  Neither was charged with a hate crime when first arrested.

Along with New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane and the members of the New York State Assembly LGB Caucus, we demanded in June that the Queens County District Attorney fully investigate the attack on Leslie as a hate crime.  I was attacked because of who I am,” Leslie said.  "I want to make sure that this does not happen to other transgender people and I am relieved to know that the people who did this to me will be brought to justice."  With the addition of hate crime charges, Leslie's attackers face a minimum of three and a half years in prison if convicted.