Hercules police investigate possible hate crime against trans teen


UPDATE: The transgender student who reported being attacked at Hercules High School yesterday has admitted to police that he fabricated the story.

Police say this happened around 10:30 a.m. while school was in session and they say because of the derogatory language that was used during the sexual assault, they're also investigating this as a hate crime.

Police say a 15-year-old transgender student who identifies as male was leaving the boys bathroom at Hercules High School. That's when he was forced into a handicap stall by three boys between the ages of 16 and 17.

"This is a sexual assault. We're waiting for additional information as far as the medical exam is concerned to determine the extent of the assault," said Hercules Police Det. Connie Van Putten.

A controversial new state law allows transgender students in grades K-12 to use restrooms or other school facilities consistent with his or her gender identity.

The student injured in Monday's attack had to be taken to the hospital.

"It's particularly problematic because it happens here too often in West Contra Costa," said School board president Charles Ramsey.

He says the district just revised its hate crime policy to include transgender students. The changes were made after 16-year-old Jewyles Gutierrez, also a transgender student, says she lashed out at some girls because they bullied her. This also happened at Hercules High School.

"We want to let people know we take these issues seriously. But we're saddened that we're not acting quickly enough, and so I'm going to ask the board to have a special meeting to address this and let the superintendent know this must stop. We cannot tolerate it," said Ramsey.

Previous sexual assaults at West Contra Costa County schools led the district to install surveillance cameras, but some schools did not receive them, including Hercules High School.

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