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Gay Man Brutally Beaten by Large Group of High School Seniors at Minnesota Graduation Party


Two teens, ages 18 and 19, are currently being held in custody at the St. Louis County Jail after what witnesses says was a homophobic assault by possibly more than 9 others, many high school seniors, at a graduation party near Duluth, Minnesota.

The Duluth News Tribune reports:

Max Pelofske, 21, of Duluth, said he came to a party at the pit to offer his congratulations to a friend’s sister, who will graduate from Proctor High School in several days. The friend, Kelly Johnson, also 21, said she and Pelofske had been at the unsanctioned gathering of about 50 people, mostly current and former Proctor students, for about five minutes when a boy approached her and Pelofske.

“He told me to look him in the eyes, and I was really confused because I’d never seen the guy before,” Pelofske told the News Tribune. “He asked me: ‘Are you gay?’ And I said, ‘Yes. Is that OK?’ ”

After that, Pelofske said he was struck in the head by a flying beer can, and a crowd of boys surrounded him, threw him to the ground and began punching and kicking him.

“I tried to get up, but I kept getting knocked back down,” said Pelofske, who described his alleged assailants as “all laughing and smiling.”

“They were trying to throw me into the fire,” he said.

Johnson said at least nine boys were involved in the attack.

“I thought they were going to kill him,” Johnson said, estimating that the beating went on for five to 10 minutes. She said she tried to intervene but was pushed away. “I was screaming, ‘Just let us leave!’ ”

Another senior claims Pelofske instigated the attack by stealing drinks from people:

Johnson refuted that account, saying Pelofske was attacked by a large group, not a single individual, and never attempted to fight back or to throw anything at anyone. She also said that she and Pelofske had been at the gathering only five minutes or so and had consumed no alcohol. She said they both asked for breath tests when police arrived to document they had not been drinking.

Pelofske was released from the hospital Sunday morning with bruised ribs, a swollen face, and foot marks all over his back and legs.

Police have not yet said whether they're classifying it as a hate crime:

“After they’re arraigned and charged, the assault charge should show whether it’s a crime of bias,” Sgt. Brent Donahue of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department told the News Tribune. “It’s an open investigation at this point.”

The 19-year-old in custody is being held on pending charges of assault in the fourth degree — which is a crime of bias, Donahue said — and possession of marijuana. The 18-year-old’s pending charges are unknown.

A Facebook page has been set up for Pelofske and a rally is planned.

Watch a rather inadequate report from Northland News Center, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Throw the book at them, hate crimes should not be tolerated.

    Posted by: Sylvatica | May 28, 2012 1:48:43 PM

  2. This is why Dharum Ravi should have been sent to the slammer

    FOR TEN YEARS!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 28, 2012 1:53:46 PM

  3. and amazingly, we're seeing opposition to in-school bullying-workshops and Gay-Straight-Alliances by the very people responsible for raising these sociopathic neanderthal thugs.

    a legion of lousy parents defending their child's right to hate without discernment.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 28, 2012 1:57:36 PM

  4. Hate is not natural, it is taught. The parents of these seniors need to take a really good look inside themselves and realize what they have created.

    Posted by: Dale | May 28, 2012 2:03:53 PM

  5. Sickening behavior. Hope he pulls through.

    Posted by: Juan | May 28, 2012 2:06:14 PM

  6. NOM has a whole new crop of stormtroopers ready to enforce its agenda. congrats.

    Posted by: carl | May 28, 2012 2:10:48 PM

  7. @Dale...the parents of these seniors love their boys & love what they've become. It's what they taught them, it' what they've condoned and it's one of the things about their "boys" that their most proud of. So, would they be retrospective on this...maybe at a barbecue with the guys, chugging a few down.

    Posted by: Paul B. | May 28, 2012 2:11:17 PM

  8. "Another senior claims Pelofske instigated the attack by stealing drinks from people..."

    The 'other' senior should be identified. Her name is Megan Byrd. Her account varies significantly with that of the victim, and may be of questionable reliability.

    People who attempt to minimize hate crime attacks by blaming the victim for things they didn't do should be identified as liars and shamed as such.

    Posted by: Holding the Cloaks of the Mob | May 28, 2012 2:14:47 PM

  9. Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachman, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and every other politician who spews their anti-gay hate from podiums and Pastor Charles Worley and Roman Catholic, Mormon and Fundamentalist doctrine along with every other preacher who spreads their anti-gay hate from pulpits and through lobbying are individually and collectively directly responsible for the brutal beating of Max Pelofske in Minnesota and for the bullying, abuse and suicides of LGBT youth along with hate crimes against gays. Their hate empowers and encourages the actions by others! It is time they be held accountable! It is time for this to stop, for schools, politicians and preachers to value LGBT youth and protect them an
    d for those who spew hate speech to suffer public scorn and legal actions for inciting violence!

    Posted by: John Selig | May 28, 2012 2:17:25 PM

  10. @John Selig...Amen brother!!!

    Posted by: Paul B. | May 28, 2012 2:20:34 PM

  11. megan byrd's hair-brained "excuse" doesn't even back up her claim that it was the victim's fault

    unless, you know, somewhere in the law books there's a precedent about a group beating a guy to a bloody pulp for "stealing beers" - which everyone knows lone gay men love to do to groups of heterosexual strangers.

    we gays always steal beer from straight guys when we're outnumbered. it's how we roll.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 28, 2012 2:28:04 PM

  12. Minnesota has some great people. Just the salt of the earth.


    Ravi was no violent thug. He was just an immature punk. A ten year sentence would do nothing to discourage violent homophobia.

    Posted by: Chris | May 28, 2012 2:28:08 PM

  13. canadian comment: the part where the victim considers refusing a CAT scan due to the prohibitive

    it's moments like this that i'm thankful for the canadian healthcare system. we don't have to worry if we can "financially handle" treatments and procedures that are vital to our wellbeing.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 28, 2012 2:34:24 PM

  14. Andy, you really ought to spend $100 for a 20-minute discussion with your lawyer so he can explain to you that you don't have to redact names on a public FB page. You seem to be under the impression that it is somehow illegal for a journalist to report the name of a minor in a news story. It isn't. Perhaps after your consultation, you will reconsider your practice of concealing the identities of the bullies who have driven scores of gay kids to suicide recently.

    Posted by: Ben | May 28, 2012 2:40:13 PM

  15. Littlekiwi, unfortunately there are thousands of cases where people refuse healthcare because of cost. And yet so many people in this country are against universal health care, especially most GOP politicians, most of whom probably have never had to face not being able to afford healthcare. Its a disgrace.

    Posted by: KP | May 28, 2012 2:40:43 PM

  16.'s something for you to chew on...
    I'm 60, my healthcare plan today is exactly the one I signed up for 14 years ago when it was $99. per month @ Kaiser Permanente. Today it's $950. per month...and they've actually dropped some coverage over the years and increased my co-pay. My husband is 59, so his same plan is $850. When he turns 60 in Sept. it goes up to $950...and then in January 2013 it goes up another $90. each. I've never cost them a penny...never been in hospital.
    I left B.C. about 35 years ago to come to California, fell in love and stayed...and I can't begin to tell you how much I regret that. More & more every day.

    Posted by: Paul B. | May 28, 2012 2:56:53 PM

  17. Not only the criminal aspect of this is going to cost these kids, but the civil as well. If I were this guy I would be suing the kids and their families for every penny they could ever hope to earn. They might get out of criminal charges, but the civil is a little different and I think will teach them more of a lesson.

    Posted by: Macmantoo | May 28, 2012 3:18:41 PM

  18. @ Ben - the person who posted the comment on Facebook was the victim's friend and was trying to stop the hate crime. My guess is Andy was protecting the guy from further victimization, or perhaps, because his name is mentioned in the article itself, that it was an image lifted from some other site and it already had his name blacked out.

    If it was a post on Facebook by one of the bullies, and they were bragging about the crime, then hell yah, expose the f$%#er. This is not the case, so I don't know why you are critising the name blackout.

    Posted by: GraphicJack | May 28, 2012 3:20:23 PM

  19. @Chris

    "Ravi was no violent thug. He was just an immature punk. A ten year sentence would do nothing to discourage violent homophobia."

    His passive-agressive violence was LETHAL.
    A tenyear sentence would keep him off the streetsand provide what the LGBT communities really need right now


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 28, 2012 3:40:40 PM

  20. Thank you again Michele Bachmann, Target, et al., for perpetuating the idea that LGBT people are less than human.

    Posted by: PDX Guy | May 28, 2012 3:52:38 PM

  21. i don't entirely disagree with you, David E, but there is something i am concerned about: cyber-element invasion of privacy aside, what was Ravi guilty of? the exact same thing(s) that earn grown-adult Americans in politics and religion votes, popularity and the social and financial support of MILLIONS.

    basically, ravi is/would be punished for doing what the Rick Santorums, the Bachmanns, the Pat Robertsons and the Fox News Culture do on a daily basis.

    Rick Santorum is responsible for so many deaths and attacks on LGBT people in America, and yet he and his ilk go "unpunished".

    Ravi played a massive role in Clementi's death, and yet the grown-adult men and women in american politics do the same thing and continue to BENEFIT from it.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 28, 2012 3:56:02 PM

  22. Ehrenstein, I don't want retribution from the justice system, I just want justice.

    Posted by: ger | May 28, 2012 4:02:07 PM

  23. Freedom of speech is not without consequences... however, in this case, the consequences impact the further victimized.

    Other nations have managed to create a balance between hate-speech, & freedom of speech. Why is it that we lag so far behind in protecting those with less power?

    We are the society we create. They all are accountable.

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | May 28, 2012 4:06:23 PM

  24. for what it's worth, Canada's hate-speech legislations are explicit, specific, and intellectually discernible.

    it's the specifics of the speech, it's not merely "unpopular speech"

    if what you say puts the target of your speech at a greater risk to their general wellbeing and safety then, quite frankly, their safety and wellbeing is more important than your believed "right" to say those things that compromise it.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 28, 2012 4:10:45 PM

  25. "Justice? You get justice in the next world. In thuis one we have the law. The rest of it's opera."

    -- William Gaddis

    And that's precisely why I want RETRIBUTION!!!!

    If a way can be found to send Bachmann etc. to the slammer I'm all for it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 28, 2012 4:17:18 PM

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