Maine GayNet - State files civil rights charge against man accused of harassing motorists

Friday August 15, 1997

State files civil rights charge against man accused of harassing motorists

Associated Press

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) - A Biddeford man has been charged with violating Maine's Civil Rights Act for allegedly physically threatening and yelling homophobic slurs at two men on the Maine Turnpike.

Attorney General Andrew Ketterer said the complaint charges Kurt G. Bray with accosting two men driving north on the Maine Turnpike around 12:30 a.m. on June 28.

The complaint alleges that Bray drove immediately in front of the victims' car for several miles, slamming on his brakes and causing the victims to stop suddenly. At one point Bray reportedly came to a complete and sudden stop in front of the victims' vehicle and, with the assistance of another pickup truck, blocked the victims' passage on the turnpike.

The victims, fearing Bray had a weapon, backed up on the turnpike, got off at the nearest exit and called the Maine State Police.

The Attorney General's lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction to prohibit Bray from assaulting or threatening any person because of that person's race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.

It also prohibits Bray from seeking contact with the victims.

``Bias-motivated violence will not be tolerated in Maine,'' Ketterer said in a statement. ``Two men have the right to sit together and travel in a vehicle without fear of threats and violence. The defendant not only put the lives of these two men in danger, his conduct also threatened the lives of every person on the turnpike that night.''

David Lawrence, assistant to the attorney general, did not know whether the victims are from Biddeford or if the two men know Bray.

Lawrence also did not say why charges weren't brought against the driver of the pickup that assisted Bray in blocking the victims' passage on the turnpike.

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