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UNC: Report of hate crime was false, charges likely

Posted April 12, 2011

— An alleged hate crime against a gay student on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus last week was false, officials said Tuesday.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said a student who told authorities he was branded with a searing hot object because of his sexual orientation filed a false police report and that it will not be reported as a hate crime.

"The alleged aggravated assault reported to campus last night did not occur," Thorp wrote in a statement.

Freshman Quinn Matney, who is gay, told authorities that on April 5, a man walked up to him near a foot bridge on campus, called him a derogatory name, told him "here is a taste of hell," and held a heated object to his skin for several seconds, leaving third- and fourth-degree burns.

Randy Young, a spokesman for UNC's public safety department, said charges of filing a false police report are likely against Matney.

University officials initially called the assault a hate crime and pledged to "bring the strongest possible charges against the attacker."

Thorp said the university takes incidents of harassment seriously, but did not release any additional details.

Gay UNC student assaulted; officials call it a hate crime Charges likely against UNC student who filed bogus assault report

In an interview with WRAL News Monday, Matney described the alleged attack in vivid detail. He said the branding felt like "relentless burning, searing pain."

"It has burned all the way through the flesh and is burning through muscle and tendon," Matney said. "He never actually let go until I punched him full in the face."

He added that he has an infection and limited movement in some fingers, and nerve damage that may require surgery.

He said his attacker was not a student, but that he had seen him on campus before.

"I have never spoken to him. I never said a single word to him," he said.

Matney's friends said they don't know what to believe.

"It is just absurd to make something like that up on the spot," said Rachel, who didn't disclose her last name.

Chloe, who didn't disclose her last name either, said she doesn't believe that Matney would lie about the story. She said the university should "take a little more time about the decisions we are making about this issue and how it looks to the community at large."

191 Comments

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  • SMF Apr 14, 1:23 p.m.

    It seems he was looking for some attention, maybe from a gay group on campus. They should press charges for what he did. This only makes things worse on everybody, especially if something like this event really takes place. I would think this actually happening would be very rare, but some people need a purpose.

  • Vincent Vega Apr 14, 11:39 a.m.

    Self hate crime.

  • Card Player Apr 14, 11:38 a.m.

    Where are all the people who were crying because people questioned his story? Not here? Big surprise.

  • barbstillkickin Apr 14, 10:21 a.m.

    Sounds like the La Crosse liar who is in jail now for murder. Wow are we learning anything. Use to be that liars paid for there lies now well now who has any idea what will happen. Probably another slap on the wrist and in a year or two a murder case. We seemed to be making the same mistakes over and over. Well unless the criminal is a certain race then they would lock them up and throw away the key.

  • WakeForestLiving Apr 14, 9:44 a.m.

    Can we hate him now because he is a liar or are liars protected?

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Apr 14, 8:48 a.m.

    "Come on, McMansionsR4Idiots!!!Come on out and apologize for the hateful, hurtful, anti-Christian, Conservaphobic, bigoted comments you made against people who stopped and thought with reason and logic about this guy's story rather than jump on the bandwagon because he's in an "oppressed group." Pseudonym

    Here's a concept- It's called reading. Try it sometime. If you had read my comments (which you clearly didn't or you just didn't understand them) you would have seen that I was addressing people who made remarks against gay people. I NEVER once said the guy was attacked or that he lied about it. I reframed from doing so Because the story sounded hinky. You need to lump yourself in that group that jumps to conclusions.

  • Smokin Apr 14, 8:12 a.m.

    Check the Daily Tar Heel this morning. Wounds were self-inflicted. Lawyer dad is hoping charges won't be filed even though a false report is a crime. When are people going to understand that politically correct speech *encourages* violence and these false reports. So-called dialogue is only accepted if you say the right things. As long as filing a false report is not prosecuted, people will do it,ruining others lives in the process. This time, there was no one arrested for the fake "hate crime", but what about next time?

  • mfarmer1 Apr 13, 7:06 p.m.

    So Why Did He Do It?

  • SpaceRokr Apr 13, 6:27 p.m.

    Following in the footsteps of Duke, UNC hops out of the blocks, skips the investigation, and jumps all over the innocent. The presumption of innocence of the accused appears to be set aside more when the accusations are made by minorities. The mainstreamers that I know are getting mighty tired of this.

  • carrboroyouth Apr 13, 6:14 p.m.

    If somebody had painted a nasty word about gays in the "free speech tunnel," then the story would be leading the news for weeks.

    I disagree completely. There are slurs about women and gays all the time in the tunnel. Seriously, I see at least one about everyday passing through it. Only the n-word gets attention, really...

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