Fred Joseph Costanza was convicted last month of a bias crime for the assault on transgender woman Lauren Jackson after she used a restroom in an Oregon park last summer.
Yesterday Circuit Judge Sheryl Bachart handed Costanza a 70-month sentence, the mandatory minimum for second-degree assault according to Oregon Live.
Ms. Jackson, who had just moved to Oregon from Utah to transition, was beaten by Fred Joseph Costanza after she used a bathroom at Agate Beach State Park in August 2019.
Lauren Jackson told KATU 2 after the attack “All of a sudden being pretty is very important to me. I’m having a rough start,” she said.
“How I appear to other people is really important right now, and this is an intense thing to see on my face,” Jackson said.
Hate Speech isn’t Free Speech
Ms. Jackson’s attorneys played recordings of phone calls that Fred Costanza made from jail while awaiting sentencing. During those calls, Costanza used defamatory language disparaging Ms. Jackson’s civil rights and gender expression.
Costanza maintained that his calls were free speech and were protected by the First Amendment.
Judge Sheryl Bachart thought otherwise.
“Your phone calls that were played here are disgusting,” she said. “They’re an incredible display of hate. It’s not about freedom of speech. It’s a little window into your soul, and it’s a dark place.”
Oregon added gender expression as a protected class in July, one month before the attack.
“In our case, 12 people of different backgrounds, different ages, different life experience said, ‘We’re not going to tolerate this in our county’ by finding the defendant guilty of bias crime in the first degree,” said Lincoln County Deputy District Attorney Hollie Boggess.
Lauren Jackson chose not to dwell on the crime after court proceedings ended. She says she’s focused on helping those who are in her situation.
“We can make our society a safer place for transgender people and other marginalized communities,” she said.