A 45-year-old Omaha, Nebraska man is facing hate crime charges after he burst into a women’s rest room in a nightclub and brutally attacked a trans woman.
According to Omaha.com, Stephen E. Thompson was arraigned in Douglas County Court on Monday morning on third-degree assault charges that are being prosecuted as a felony hate crime.
The attack took place on Friday night, said the victim, 27-year-old Kara Jeslyn Barone.
Barone told Omaha.com that she and a friend attended a party at the Down Under Lounge on Friday. Barone has been transitioning from male to female for the past three years.
At the party, Barone said that she and another trans woman went to use the women’s restroom where they encountered Thompson’s girlfriend, who was the party’s guest of honor.
As the three women did their business, Thompson suddenly tried to kick the door open and barge in.
“I pushed him back outside,” said Barone, “and locked the door.”
Barone, who the report lists as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds, said that Thompson — 6 feet tall and strapping — continued to pound on the door and scream.
When his girlfriend relented and opened the door, Thompson “sucker-punched” Barone, who suffered abrasions and a split lip in the attack.
After he struck her, Thompson hurled the phrase “You’re a faggot!” and other antigay slurs at Barone as onlookers dragged him off of her and out of the room.
Omaha.com reported that witnesses corroborated Barone’s version of events.
Barone said she had no prior relationship with Thompson, “I’ve never seen him before or anything. He was just the DJ for a…party at the bar that night, and his girlfriend was the one having the party.”
Police arrested Thompson Friday night and held him over the weekend. His bail was set at $50,000.
If convicted, he faces up to five years behind bars.