Eight alleged gang members, who are accused of participating in cruel, anti-gay hate crimes, were arraigned in New York City on Sunday.
The suspects are charged with harassment, criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful imprisonment, robbery and sexual abuse as hate crimes. They have been identified as Bryan Almonte, Steven Carabello, Brian Cepeda, Nelson Falu, Idelfonso Mendez, Dennis Piters, David Rivera and Elmer Confresi..
Piters and Carabello were given a $100,000 bail, while the remaining suspects are being held without bail, according to the Bronx district attorney. Five of the suspects are 17 years old with the rest being early 20’s. The teenagers will be charged as adults. No pleas were entered during the arraignment. There is a ninth suspect, Ruddy Vargas-Perez, that has not been captured yet.
According to the police, these men held three of the victims against their will in a vacant apartment, where they beat and sodomized them. A fourth victim was beaten and robbed.
The attacks began because the suspects, members of a street gang called the Latin King Goonies, reportedly found out a pledge had previously had sex with a man. They allegedly took the hopeful member into a vacant apartment on October 3rd and began to question him. During the attack, the group used anti-gay slurs, assaulted the pledge, stripped him, cut him and sodomized him. Afterwards the suspects let the victim leave under threats of harm to his family if he revealed what had happened.
Later that evening another young man was beaten, questioned, robbed, and held against his will, in relation to the same man the former victim was said to have had sex with. Eventually the man the victims had previously had sex with was brought to the apartment, stripped, assaulted and sodomized.
The fourth victim, the older man’s brother, was assaulted and robbed at his apartment after the initial attacks.
The hate crimes task force, Bronx Gang Division and Bronx Special Victims Squad worked together to identify and capture the suspects. The next court date for the suspects is October 14.