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The alleged victim of a homophobic assault in Florida is speaking out about the attack that left him severely beaten and permanently blind.
“Because I’m gay, yes,” the man, who has not been identified after invoking a local law to protect his privacy, told local Miami outlet WPLG. “Because I’m gay, they think I turned his son gay.”
The man said he had a secret romantic relationship with Oleh Makarenko, 21, and that when his family found out, they turned violent. Makarenko, along with his father Yevhen Makarenko, 43, and mother Inna Makarenko, 44, have been charged with hate crimes for attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping. Oleh’s brother Vladyslav Makarenko, 25, is also being held on attempted murder, kidnapping and battery charges. Inna has been granted bond but the rest of the family remains behind bars.
The 31-year-old victim was found badly beaten in his apartment in the summer of 2021. The Broward State Attorney’s Office has previously said that he has “has been permanently blinded and sustained other serious injuries as a result of the incident.” The victim was on a ventilator for three weeks, according to the Miami Herald, and has had four surgeries as a result of his injuries, which included a concussion, a fractured jaw and multiple facial bone fractures. Doctors expect he will never regain his eyesight.
“Medically there is nothing they can do for me,” the man told WPLG this week. “The nerves were dead.”
He got emotional as he stated that he could no longer help his mother.
“My mom used to depend on me and I’m no longer able to help her,” he said. “I honestly don’t know how I am able to keep it together.”
The family allegedly attacked him in August after Oleh's parents found out he was in a relationship with their son, according to the Miami Herald. Oleh even apparently had a key to the man's apartment; he allegedly dated him in secret for nine months.
Oleh “advised [the victim] that his mother was going to force him to marry a woman,” according to the arrest warrant. Oleh’s fiancée denied the accusations to WPLG.
All four family members are accused of holding down the victim and beating him after becoming irate over the relationship.
Michael Glasser, a lawyer for the family, said the victim is lying; he points out that he didn’t recall the story until February, a month before the family’s arrest. Initially, the victim supposedly claimed that his severe injuries were the result of falling down while drunk.
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