April 12, 2012

Two Harlan County men indicted for federal hate crime Read more: The Harlan Daily Enterprise - Two Harlan County men indicted for federal hate crime

Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI jointly announced Thursday that two Harlan County men were indicted for their roles in kidnapping and assaulting a gay man because of his sexual orientation.

According to a press release, a federal grand jury in London returned a three-count indictment Wednesday charging David Jason Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland, and Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, of Partridge, with kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Pennington in April of last year. The indictment also charges the men with conspiracy. Both men will be arraigned in London at 2 p.m. today.

According to the indictment, on April 4, 2011, the defendants enlisted the help of two women to lure Pennington into a truck with the defendants. According to the indictment, Anthony and David Jenkins transported Pennington to a secluded area of the Kingdom Come State Park and assaulted him.

Both defendants were indicted for committing a hate crime in violation of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by someone’s sexual orientation. This case marks the first case in the nation charging a violation of the sexual orientation section of the federal hate crimes law.

The Federal hate crimes law under which these defendants were charged, criminalizes certain acts of violence motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender.

This case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Kentucky State Police. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hydee Hawkins and trial attorney Angie Cha with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

The kidnapping and assault offenses carry maximum penalties of up to life in prison.

Mable Jenkins, 19, of Partridge, and Alexis Jenkins, 19, of Partridge, were also arrested in March by federal authorities for their alleged involvement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday that information and further charges against the two women are pending at this time.

“People cannot assault people based on their sexual orientation,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

Read more: The Harlan Daily Enterprise - Two Harlan County men indicted for federal hate crime

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