Aug. 27, 2019

HARRISBURG – In light of the recent assault of a local young man with intellectual disabilities on the Hoodlebug Trail in Homer City, Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) has come out in strong support for the victim and his family, as well as all persons with disabilities who are the victims of these heinous crimes.

Currently, under state law, there is nothing to constitute a higher-level offense for perpetrators of crimes against those with mental disabilities. The offense is considered a misdemeanor, similar to an assault of a non-disabled person. Struzzi has pledged to support a bill which would classify such an assault as a hate crime, leading to the perpetrators facing more severe charges and harsher consequences.

“It’s horrifying and appalling that someone could do this, especially on one of our county’s recreational trails. The mental and emotional anguish that he and his family must be in is unimaginable,” said Struzzi. “To help ensure that this family finds adequate justice, and to help prevent these types of crimes from happening again, I am co-sponsoring this bill so that disabled victims are given the justice they deserve.”

House Bill 1344, authored by Rep. Kristine Howard (D-Chester), would add “intellectual or physical disability” to the list of elements that prosecutors can consider when contemplating hate crime charges.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe
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