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Arrest Made in Assault of Boston-Area Man Attacked for Displaying LGBTQ Flag

Friday July 31, 2020

Last month Tom Anderson had just finished putting up a LGBTQ flag in his yard in the home he shared with his husband, Jacob, in the Boston suburb of Taunton.

"We had put the flag up maybe an hour beforehand, it was Pride month," Tom told the news outlet Boston 25 News

Soon after a man stopped his car, came into the yard, and assaulted Anderson, knocking out his front teeth. The man escaped before being apprehended.

This week a man from nearby Brockton was charged with the attack, according to the Bristol County District Attorney's office.

"Michael Cates, 34, of Brockton was charged July 23 with assault and battery with serious bodily injury and assault and battery with intent to intimidate," reports the Taunton Daily Gazette. "The district attorney's office said that Taunton police filed the charges, but Taunton police would not confirm this and said they are still investigating the incident."

While Anderson believes he was targeted because he was gay, a hate crime charge was not made. "The Andersons' lawyer, Sherry Costa Hanlon, who offered to represent them without charge, said this could be due to prosecutors being conservative about what they prosecute and making sure they have an ironclad case for any charges they put forth. She also noted that a hate crime charge could still be added," writes the Taunton Daily Gazette.

"It has been difficult knowing he was out there and possibly harming other people," Anderson told the paper. "We are thankful charges have been filed," the Andersons said in a statement. "It is important to stand not only for ourselves but for others. Sadly, many people are targeted for who they are or the way they look. We are thankful for all the support. Please continue your support as we move through this next phase of seeking justice."

Tom Anderson says he does not know the suspect and believes he was targeted for being gay.

Cates is scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Friday.

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