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Hate-crimes charged in student bus assault

David Spencer, Chase Morrison, and Roy Wilson are

David Spencer, Chase Morrison, and Roy Wilson are walked out of Nassau Police Headquarters after they were arrested on charges that they attacked another student. (Oct. 14, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Three Nassau teens face hate-crime charges after a 14-year-old boy was assaulted on a school bus two days in a row and endured anti-gay taunts, Nassau police said yesterday.

The name-calling during the attacks this week as well as the teens' "ongoing course of conduct" over several weeks or months prompted officers to charge the teens with hate crimes, police said.

David Spencer, 18, of Barry Drive North in Valley Stream; Chase Morrison, 16, of Barbara Lane in Lakeview; and Roy Wilson, 16, of Rose Boulevard in Baldwin, were arrested Wednesday night.

Police said on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m., the suspects "stomped and kicked" the victim on the arms, legs, stomach and thighs on a bus leaving the Nassau BOCES Career Preparatory High School in Westbury. Spencer and Morrison allegedly taunted him because they believed he was gay. All three suspects are students at the school.

On Wednesday at about 7:20 a.m., police said, Spencer and Morrison slapped the victim on the head and in the face on a bus to the school and again made remarks about sexual orientation.

The victim reported the incidents to school authorities Wednesday afternoon and police arrested the suspects Wednesday night.

The victim, whose name police are withholding, had bruises and "substantial pain throughout his body," police said.

Spencer was arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead on charges of third-degree assault as a hate crime, and second-degree aggravated harassment. He was being held on $2,000 bond or $1,000 cash, a spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Wilson was arraigned on a charge of third-degree assault as a hate crime and was being held on $1,000 bond or $500 cash.

Morrison is to be arraigned Friday on second-degree aggravated harassment and third-degree assault as hate crime charges, officials said.

"We felt this was bias-related," said Det. Lt. John MacEwen, commander of the Second Squad detectives.

The Nassau BOCES school is an alternative school that focuses on the social, emotional and prevocational and academic needs of students, said a BOCES spokeswoman. "We are committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students," read a statement issued by BOCES. "Aggression, bullying, or harassment of any kind is not tolerated."

Police are looking into whether the bus driver and an aide on the vehicle knew of the attacks or tried to stop or report them.

The suspects and their attorneys could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The attacks shocked area activists for gay and lesbian youth.

"When we first heard about this crime this morning all of us were just at that point where we said 'Enough is enough,' " said David Kilmnick, chief executive officer of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth. ". . . Our young people are in danger and we all, gay and straight, have to end this rampant homophobia."

With Joie Tyrrell

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