February 22, 2001

FEBRUARY 22, 2001

CONTACT: Christina Hall, Assistant Attorney General 207-626-8800

Attorney General G. Steven Rowe today announced that his office has filed a civil enforcement action under the Maine Civil Rights Act against three Dexter teenagers.

The complaint, filed in the Superior Court for Penobscot County, alleges that the teenagers threatened and assaulted an Hispanic youth and two friends because of the youth's race or national origin.

On November 28, 2000, the three teenagers confronted and assaulted the Hispanic youth and his friend outside a Dexter convenience store while making racial slurs. After the victims fled on foot, the teenagers pursued them in a car, continuing their confrontation, racial slurs and assaults when they caught up with them. The third victim was assaulted by the teenagers as he approached to assist the first two victims. One of the teenagers had previously stated that he intended to assault the Hispanic youth because of his race, as well as anyone else who tried to stop him.

The Attorney General's complaint seeks to permanently enjoin the teenagers from any further acts of violence, property damage, or trespass against the victims and others motivated by bias.

Attorney General Rowe stated: "No person in this state should be subject to threats or violence because of prejudice or bias. Our office will work closely with local law enforcement to aggressively enforce the State's civil rights laws."

Attorney General Rowe commended the Dexter Police Department for its investigation of the incident. The department referred the case to Rowe's office for possible action under the Maine Civil Rights Act.