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Man pleads guilty to lying about assault

Aug. 9, 2012 at 5:05 PM   |   Comments

MISSOULA, Mont., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A man has pleaded guilty to falsely reporting to police that he was beaten for being gay in downtown Missoula, Mont., officials said.

Joseph Baken, 22, alleged he was beaten outside the Missoula Club Sunday morning in what appeared to be an act of gay-bashing. However, he pleaded guilty to falsifying a police report Tuesday morning.

Photos of Baken's badly bruised face made the rounds on local and international news Sunday and Monday, and online, where it was posted on The Huffington Post and the Wipe Out Homophobia Facebook page.

The Missoulian reported a video was sent to police Tuesday, showing Baken attempting to do a backflip off of a curb around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and smacking his face on the concrete. Baken called the police about two hours later to report three men had beaten him outside the Missoula Club after he had asked them where to find a gay bar.

After receiving the video, police contacted Baken, who eventually admitted the assault never happened.

Wipe Out Homophobia posted to their Facebook page Tuesday: "Looks like we have all been had."

However, Jamee Greer of Montana Human Rights Network saw a bright side to the situation:

"The city of Missoula should be proud of the way it responded, and we will continue to work toward including assaults that target Montanans based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the legal definition of hate crimes in our state," Greer said in a statement.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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