Two Harlan County men were indicted for their roles in the reported kidnapping and assault of a homosexual man because of his sexual orientation.
A federal grand jury in London, Kentucky, returned a three-count indictment, charging 37-year-old David Jason Jenkins and 20-year-old Anthony Ray Jenkins with kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Pennington in April of last year.
The indictment also charges the men with conspiracy.
Both men pleaded not guilty in federal court in London on Thursday. A June trial date was set.
According to the indictment, on April 4, 2011, the defendants enlisted the help of two women to lure Pennington into a truck with the defendants.
The indictment says Anthony and David Jenkins transported Pennington to a secluded area of the Kingdom Come State Park and assaulted him.
Both defendants were indicted for committing a hate crime in violation of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by someone’s sexual orientation.
This case marks the first case in the nation charging a violation of the sexual orientation section of the federal hate crimes law.
The Federal hate crimes law under which these defendants were charged, criminalizes certain acts of violence motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.