Transgender woman suffered brutal attack in downtown Toledo

A group of men following a transgender woman reportedly shouted, “That’s a dude in a dress,” and other derogatory comments before attacking and robbing her Monday in downtown Toledo.

Candice Rose Milligan, 33, formerly Shawn Milligan, was released from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center Thursday. She had undergone two surgeries and recently had her jaw wired shut because of a broken mandible, said Dave Crafts, executive director of EqualityToledo, an advocacy group that works to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Toledo police charged Christopher Temple, 20, of 701 Cherry St. as one of three men in the midday attack at 13th Street and Madison Avenue. Mr. Temple was arraigned Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court and ordered to remain in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.

“She’ll be down for the count for a while,” Mr. Crafts said. “But she’s strong. She wants everyone to know how hate-filled and horrific this crime was.”

Ms. Milligan was walking on Madison when three men approached her, made derogatory comments, and then one of the men punched Ms. Milligan in the face, mouth, and head, according to a Toledo police report. Once Ms. Milligan was on the ground, the other men kicked and punched her. One of them grabbed a cell phone from Ms. Milligan’s hand and then fled.

Police said they arrived to find Ms. Milligan with a large bump on her forehead and her mouth bleeding. Nearby witnesses were able to provide police with vague suspect descriptions.

Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said investigators still are trying to identify other people involved in the assault. When the case is presented to a Lucas County grand jury, the suspects may face additional charges if it is determined the attack was motivated by hate or discrimination, he said.

“This doesn’t fit in the definition of [a race, religion, or ethnic intimidation enhancement] exactly because, if it’s anything, it may have been done because of his sexual orientation, but we haven’t proven that either,” Sergeant Heffernan said.

Sergeant Heffernan said he was not aware of other similar attacks in Toledo.

“Assaults like this go very underreported if not unreported,” Mr. Crafts said. “We know there’s stuff like this going on all the time. Victims are afraid to report because they’re not sure what type of response they’ll receive.”

Thursday afternoon, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund announced, in the response to the attack on Ms. Milligan, the need for statewide nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.

“We are outraged with the continued anti-transgender violence taking place across the country. The recent brutal attack against a transgender community activist underscores the need for strong nondiscrimination laws to prevent violent anti-LGBTQ hate crimes,” said the Rev. Darlene Nipper, the group’s deputy executive director. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Candice, her friends, and family. We hope for a quick and healthy recovery. We will continue to monitor the situation in Toledo as we call on the local authorities to use every tool in their power to bring justice to Candice and the transgender community.”

Police ask that anyone with information about the assault to call the Crime Stopper program at 419-255-1111.


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