Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Harlan County Hate Crime - Attempted Murder of a Gay Man - U.S. Justice Department notified

Harlan, KY -- In April, Kevin Pennington was kidnapped, taken to a state park, brutally beaten, and almost killed by four individuals. This was an unprovoked attack on a gay man, which, but for the fact that Pennington woke during a lull in the attack and made his escape while the assailants were pondering how best to kill him and dispose of his body, would have ended in his violent murder.

Friends of the victim reported the crime to Kentucky Equality Federation the following day.  However, until now, the victim was been reluctant to come forward, fearing for his safety. 

"The whole time I screamed and begged them to stop, I was screaming I'm sorry for whatever I had done to make them want to do this to me," stated Pennington in a report to Kentucky Equality Federation. "I can remember seeing bright flashes of light every time one of them would stomp or punch me in the head with them telling me he was going to rape me asking me if I was going to suck his [edited] how they would hold me down if they had to and how he was going to [edited] me in the [edited] dry until I bled."

"Five months later, justice has still not been served," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Southeastern Kentucky Regional Director Will Taylor. "Pennington is a haunted man, living in fear, dealing with fears of future attacks, and seeking to recompose his life, which was so viciously shattered that spring night."

David Jenkins and Anthony Jenkins stand charged with 'Attempted Murder.' Ashley Jenkins stands charged with 'Any Felony Charge Not Covered by these Codes,' and 'Complicity to Attempted Murderer' according to the Harlan County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, as well as a minor whose name cannot be released under Kentucky law.

"Our initial report to the U.S. Department of Justice as to why we are requesting they intervene under the new federal legislation is clearly outlined in our initial request to them, stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "My community wants exactly what every other citizen wants, equality under law and to love and protect our families. My community does not seek the approval of hate groups or intolerant people, only the acceptance that we have the same right to the pursuit of happiness as they do and, though they may continue to test our resolve, in the end, we shall prevail. The hate crimes, as well as the school bullying in Southeastern Kentucky however, must stop."

Palmer continued: "I separated Bell, Harlan, Knott, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, and Perry counties into the Southeastern Kentucky Region apart from the general Southern Kentucky Region because of recent incidents in Perry, Knott, Harlan, Bell, and Clay counties. We now have two (2) hate crimes in Harlan that we are making public, in addition to school bullying cases, and discrimination cases in the other Southeastern Kentucky counties which our Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee continue to investigate. The latest hate crime reports have also been forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice under the new federal hate crimes law."

Kentucky Equality Federation continues to communicate with officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, including Walter Atkinson, Senior Conciliation Specialist for Region IV with the Community Relations Service, Robin Dull, with the Civil Enforcement Section, and Bobbi Bernstein, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division.

Palmer continued: "Kentucky Equality Federation will continue to monitor the conduct of everyone involved and will report any indifference to enforce the laws of this Commonwealth both to the U.S. Department of Justice as well as the Kentucky Court of Justice Judicial Conduct Commission. Violent hate crimes do not just devastate the victim, they also send the message that some of our citizens are expendable, a message which will not be tolerated in our Commonwealth. We will not tolerate the slippery slope of allowing certain segments of our population to be victimized."

The Kentucky Equality Federation demands that the Commonwealth of Kentucky defend Pennington, an innocent citizen who was kidnapped, beaten, threatened with rape, and who must now live in fear of his attackers, who are free to do as they please with no sort of restraint or intervention.

"The integrity of Kentucky’s criminal justice system is now under a microscope and jeopardized by abandoning such a man to the whims of four individuals with a demonstrated propensity toward extreme violence," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Vice President of Public Relations and Media, Joshua Koch. "Pennington reports that attorneys for the defendants have badgered Pennington to drop charges or accept a summary judgment from the bench rather than seeking a jury trial, Pennington has been prevented from seeking an emergency protection order."

Kentucky Equality Federation is the Commonwealth's largest advocate for equal treatment of all citizens. As our mission statement explains, "Kentucky Equality Federation believes all people are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment free from oppression, discrimination, school bullying, and hate crimes, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other defining characteristic."


Anonymous said...

there is a very popular story circulating that this crime was drug related and this victim claimed it was because he was gay so he wouldn't be in trouble with the authorities over his drug deal that he owed money for.

Anonymous said...

Ya well there are always stories for people to get out of things. lol. You stated a rumor were is your proof or documentation?

Larry F said...

Why does the site even accept anonymous comments? If one doesn't have the guts to show one's name, how seriously can one's opinion be taken? IMHO

Jordan Palmer, President said...

Agreed. If you do not have the guts to say who you are that says enough about you. I am going to request that Anonymous comments be CLOSED!

Anonymous said...

What i think all theese people who have heard the rumor that what happened had anything to do with drugs fails to realize is that the prosecutors have a taped confession from one of the attackers saying that they intended on takeing him up there to kill him because he was a faggot nowhere in that whole conversation is there any mention of drugs and only someone who is terrified of going to prison for something much worse would admit to being a drug dealer i don't think theres any drug dealers living on top of that park in the middle of the woods plus this is the second attack theese people forced upoun this boy the first was against a person he was seeing and since charges were never filled against them for that attack the attackers were confident that he wouldn't do anything about it this time either. Learn the facts before u just start spouting off about things u know nothing about!

Daniel Brown said...

Is there an established fund to help Kevin with medical bills and therapy? I'm sure this incident has taken a toll on him both financially and emotionally.