ADL Expresses Support for Hate Crime Investigation in West Virginia
Cleveland, OH, September 12, 2007 . . . The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) applauds the Logan County, West Virginia, Sherriff's Office and the FBI for initiating a hate crime investigation of a horrific kidnapping, sexual assault, and malicious wounding and battery of an African-American woman in West Virginia.
Shari Kochman, Regional Director of ADL's Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Office, which includes the state of West Virginia, issued the following statement:
It is appropriate that the Logan County Sheriff's Office and the FBI consider the horrifying weeklong kidnapping, sexual assault, and torture of Megan Williams a possible hate crime. According to police reports, at least one of the alleged perpetrators used racial slurs while cutting the African-American victim's leg with a knife. If law enforcement concludes that the white suspects harmed Ms. Williams because of her race or gender, ADL urges them to prosecute the crimes to the full extent permitted under West Virginia's hate crime law as well as any other relevant statutes.
Hate crimes have a special impact on the community beyond the immediate impact on the victim. If Megan Williams was targeted because of her race, all African-Americans in her community could feel at risk. By timely initiating a hate crime investigation, the Logan County Sheriff's Office and FBI have reassured the community that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Logan County, and that those who commit them will be aggressively pursued under the law.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.