Wounded gay teen seeks $4M in damages

Dec. 8, 2009 at 8:13 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A gay Israeli teenager is seeking $4 million from the organization that runs the Tel Aviv gay community center where he was shot, his lawyer says.

Yonatan Buks, 15, suffered internal damage when he was shot in the lower extremities of his body. He is undergoing rehabilitation and has difficulty speaking, Ynetnews reported Tuesday.

No arrests have been made in the Aug. 1 attack, which left two other teens dead.

Eitan Peleg, the attorney representing Buks, acknowledged the center operated under good intentions but must bear its responsibilities, as well.

"The center functioned with an 'open door' policy, every Saturday at the same place and the same time, and without security cameras, an alarm, call buttons, or escape routes," Peleg said. "We have all been exposed to the homophobia that runs rampant. You can start by closing the door."

Leaders of the gay group expressed sympathy for the wounded teen.

"It is not easy to listen to the claim, but I don't suppose he is motivated by greed," said an unidentified member of the group, Agudah for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender in Israel. "I believe he really fears the future and feels he needs money."

But center manager Shaul Gannon said the group doesn't have the money to pay Buks.

Peleg indicated he expects the center's insurance to cover the damages being sought, and that the state and the city of Tel Aviv should also bear the burden.

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