A Boston-area teenager is facing a hate crime charge after allegedly kidnapping and torturing a gay man for days on end. But the family and lawyer of the accused say he's the real victim.
Jackson Sugrue, 19, is accused of holding Brazilian Otoni Eliseu, 50, captive in a Framingham, Massachusetts basement apartment for four days, according to Boston 25 News. Sugrue allegedly bludgeoned Eliseu repeatedly with various objects while depriving him of food and water and threatening him with more violence should he attempt to leave.
The victim claims the teen hurled several homophobic slurs at him while being attacked, leading to a hate crime charge, prosecutor Dylan Krasinski confirmed during Sugrue’s arraignment Monday at Framingham District Court, according to Metro West Daily News.
Sugrue and Eliseu had known each other prior to this incident. The two had met at the Philadelphia Baptist Church, where Eliseu had been staying while recovering from drug use.
Eliseu told police that the two had been using crack cocaine together on June 27 when Sugrue suddenly became violent, according to NBC Boston.
"He attacked me on my back, on my butt, [saying] 'You’re gay, you like me,'" said Eliseu, who said he was beaten with a coffee table and a fire extinguisher while being physically prevented from leaving, according to Boston 25 News. He escaped shortly before police found him on June 30.
"Jesus was helping me, thank God I'm alive," said Eliseu, according to Boston 25 News.
Eliseu was discovered by police when responding to a call about someone being beaten with a baseball bat. When Eliseu was found by law enforcement, he was covered in blood and wearing only pants.
“He said he had escaped from an apartment where he had been kept against his will for the past four days,” said Krasinski, according to Boston 25 News.
Sugrue was arrested that same day. He faces several charges including a hate crime, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.
Sugrue's lawyer, Kenneth Gross, has presented a different narrative of the events. Gross claims that Sugrue is, in fact, the victim.
"[Eliseu] was trying to entice my client to do things that were against his nature,” said Gross at the hearing, according to Metro West Daily News.
Sugrue's parents echoed this argument in an interview with Metro West Daily News.
“My son is a victim of a 50-year-old man,” said Terry Sugrue. “This is someone we tried to help. ... He became obsessed with my son.”
Sugrue is being held on $1,000 bail and has been ordered to stay away from the victim, according to Metro West Daily News. His pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.
Eliseu has since been transferred to MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham where he is recovering from his injuries. He says he's unsure what his next steps are are, as he is homeless and has no one to help him in this country.
[Photo: Framingham Police Department]