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Second Gay Student at MN High School Targeted with Hate Crime After Coming Out: VIDEO


On Wednesday, Towleroad reported that Ryan Eichenauer, a gay student at Centennial High School in Circle Pines, Minnesota was targeted with vicious death threats after he posted a video in which he came out of the closet, to Facebook.

EichenauerNow, a second student at Centennial has come forward with a similar story, KMSP reports:

In both instances, it begins with a student publicly identifying as gay -- and both were met with backlash by those who would invoke God or religion while expressing their apparent hate. Ratgen and his parents say they were absolutely crushed.

"I just don't understand why we're such a big problem," Ratgen said.

Ratgen came out in late fall, using social media to tell his classmates that he is gay. About a week later, however, Ratgen woke up to find the family driveway in Lino Lakes had been vandalized with a hateful message.

"On the driveway, written in very large letters: 'God hates fags,'" recalled Brad Ratgen, Noah's father. "It was absolutely disgusting. I went and washed it off right away."

The family reported the painful graffiti to police, but no arrests were ever made. Instead, the incident was filed as a hate crime with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Watch KMSP's report, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Pathetic scary people attack these brave young guys. Be strong and never give up to those hateful attackers.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Feb 7, 2014 10:55:38 AM

  2. You do have to wonder if reporting on things of this nature in the local media - particularly anonymous bullying versus physical gay bashings - just encourages other parties to get the attention they seek by carrying out copycat crimes.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Feb 7, 2014 11:06:36 AM

  3. Don't get me wrong. The school and their police officer should fully investigate the first case. Maybe set a trap with a concealed video camera. If they won't take action, then contact the media. I'm just questioning the benefit of putting the media spotlight on it every time it happens no matter the outcome or severity. Presumably, every time a kid leaves another kid a note along the lines of "you're fat, I'm going to kill you" the principal can in theory find the perp and give them an appropriate punishment, without it needing news coverage.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Feb 7, 2014 11:11:54 AM

  4. This makes me wonder whether it is a single person or a group of bigots acting together. It seems like they're scanning social media for vulnerable local targets. Cowards who think they can get away with murder by driving gay teens to commit suicide.

    Posted by: Jay | Feb 7, 2014 11:12:13 AM

  5. If you go that that first students Twitter account you'll see that pretty much all of his fellow students are victim-blaming him, justifying the letter, downplaying it, or simply dismissing it as a hoax.

    They seem too busy worrying about their obscure little schools non-reputation, to take time out and worry about their fellow student. Too busy attacking the victim and not the person who committed a crime.

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 7, 2014 11:12:26 AM

  6. So I guess now the people who were making comments here about the first gay student at the school coming out and automatically suspecting a hoax will eat their own words.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Feb 7, 2014 11:16:13 AM

  7. Haters and religionists, same same.

    Their god must be so pleased with these haters.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 7, 2014 11:46:08 AM

  8. It's very unusual for death threats to persist unless the person doing it is deranged or an ex-lover of some sort. I think we can discount the latter. Perhaps the threats and intimidation will abate over the next few weeks? That's probably what the police are hoping for.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 7, 2014 12:25:50 PM

  9. @Spacecadet. My thoughts as well.

    Posted by: bollox | Feb 7, 2014 1:29:17 PM

  10. KUDOS to KMSP again for their excellent coverage and frank talk about religious motivated hate directed at innocent kids.

    This clip goes to show that our raised voices on social media sites is one of the most powerful tools in our equality struggle. A local news clip picked up by advocacy sites and spread nationally raises a lot of voices in support. A variety of voices that demand accountability from those in charge and offer advice & support to those in need.

    Ryan & Noah
    Pay the verbal abusers no heed. They have shallow lives and twisted minds. Always know that you have support when needed from your friends, loved ones and extended Family.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Feb 7, 2014 1:32:29 PM

  11. The good news is - both kids have the support of their families. Amazing!!

    Posted by: Gigi | Feb 7, 2014 2:41:23 PM

  12. The FBI should descend upon this town and find the criminal bigots before those criminal bigots act on their bigotry in ways beyond just hate speech.

    Posted by: Ryan | Feb 7, 2014 2:59:53 PM

  13. Amen, Gigi. yes, bigoted kids raised by bigoted parents. and yet, here's another family that shows what LOVE means.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 7, 2014 3:31:13 PM

  14. I was thinking about that letter that was sent to Ryan. There are a number of clues in that letter which suggest that it may have been written by a girl.

    It is loquacious. It is above-average in terms of grammar, sentence structure and creative use of language. The author several times notes that other people also hate Ryan; it is important to the author to convey to Ryan that he is socially isolated. I delves into his supposed past and tries to shame him. And the letter urges Ryan to kill himself; the author does not talk about killing him.

    This is more in line with female bullying. For girls, it is more about social isolation and stigmatization imposed by groups of girls, rather than straightforward violence by individuals. A boy likely would have written a note of at most a few short sentences, probably with numerous grammatical errors. The author likely wouldn't have tried to convince Ryan that others agreed with. And it would have threatened specific violent acts.

    The vandalism directed at the other kid is more classically male, but Ryan's letter, assuming it is genuine, sure seems like it came from the hand of one of Minnesota's fine upstanding Christian girls.

    Posted by: Mack | Feb 7, 2014 7:26:10 PM

  15. Good point by Gigi.

    To me the attacks on gays in Russia were so disturbing not just because of the specific acts, but because of how people in Russia interpreted them.

    In Minnesota, we have 2 bad incidents, but everyone understands that they are criminal acts and that the 2 boys are the victims. Even the institutions that are not terribly helpful, like the school district, at least understand who is the criminal and who is the victim. And the victims go on TV with their families to talk about this.

    In Russia, the victims are terrified to be identified. The perpetrators are delighted with themselves, have no problem videotaping themselves, urge others to distribute the videos widely and are happy to be known by their real names. And many of these attacks happened outdoors in broad daylight. In some cases, passers by encouraged the attackers.
    And I think that up until perhaps the 1990s, Minnesotans would have treated these 2 victims much like the Russians do today.

    Posted by: Mack | Feb 7, 2014 7:36:52 PM

  16. This school wouldn't happen to be in Michele Bachmann's Congressional District, by any chance. Would it?

    Posted by: FFS | Feb 7, 2014 9:32:30 PM

  17. @Jay: If the bigots are doing that - scanning social-media sites for victims - and it is a small group of bigots, they can be caught. You can generate a short list of "people of interest" or whatever the euphemism du jour is by looking at the logs and intersecting the set pf IP addresses of computers that accessed each teens' web pages.

    I hope that the police, FBI, or whomever is doing just that.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 7, 2014 11:11:46 PM

  18. Oh ... didn't notice that it was the same school. There might be too many people both know to get anywhere by looking for people who accessed both victims' web pages. That's perhaps less likely to be an issue if they are in different grades.

    Too bad the writing on the driveway was washed off immediately. If there was at least a photo of it, a handwriting comparison might help in getting a conviction or finding the perpetrator.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 8, 2014 2:23:53 AM

  19. More courage than I had at that age.

    Posted by: ophu | Feb 8, 2014 5:29:37 AM

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