A White Man In Vermont Was Arrested For Exposing Himself To A Latino Family While Telling Them To ‘Go Back’
As our surprise continues to lessen to hear reports of hate crimes like this, our nausea just seems to rise. The forecast for hate crimes isn’t showing any signs of relief anytime soon. Recent FBI data shows an increase in hate crimes by 22 percent in the last few years–a sharp turn from the years-long decrease in hate crimes. In 2017, Vermont saw nearly three times as many hate crimes report than it did in 2013. Only Wyoming and Georgia beat Bernie Sander’s home state in the number of hate crimes.
The most recent incident is traumatizing on several levels. Stuart Rollins, a 58-year-old man from Barre, Vermont allegedly stood outside a Latino family’s home, pulled down his pants and exposed his genitals to them and their 3-year-old child while shouting, “Go back to your country!”
Sturat Rallins, 58, has pleaded not guilty to a felony count and several misdemeanor counts.
He pleaded “not guilty” in Washington County Superior Criminal Court to a felony count of lewd and lascivious conduct, several misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, mischief and criminal threatening. Two of those misdemeanor counts include hate crime enhancements.
Barre City Police released a summarized report that said they initially responded to a reported fight on Hillside Avenue in Barre at 2:48 p.m. Monday. They arrived at the scene to take witness reports but were called back at 4:11 p.m. when Rollins allegedly pulled down his pants and exposed himself to a Latino family and their 3-year-old child.
Witnesses said he was yelling “Go back to Mexico,” as he flashed the family.
The police weren’t able to locate Rollins until the next morning but took down some interesting witness statements. That day, Rollins had also been reportedly standing in the middle of the road, laughing and telling a woman and her mother-in-law- in their flower garden that he forgot something. Then, he dropped his pants and flashed them all. The woman told police that he was “saying things about Mexicans,” as he walked away back to his home.
Rollins also allegedly called a woman a “f***ing Spanish b*tch” as he threatened to set her and her house on fire. He was released on bail.
Rollins did admit to police that he knocked down the family’s mailbox because he alleges that a man in the family had assaulted him. Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault asked for a $5,000 secured appearance bond with a $500 deposit be imposed for bail. Rollins was released on conditions that he follows a curfew and stays away from witnesses in his case–all of whom are his direct neighbors.
If convicted of all charges, Rollins would go to prison for 10 years.
Meanwhile, some people are defending Rollins’ hate speech as protected by the first amendment. According to @BeRightWithGod, Rollins’ telling the family to “go back to Mexico” and calling a woman a “f***ing Spanish bitch” while threatening to set her on fire is just free speech. This Twitter user is wrong. It is perfectly legal to fire an employee for telling a co-worker to “go back to your country” on the grounds of discrimination.
Some are pointing to Trump’s own rhetoric for the rise in hate crimes. Others think this police-reported incident is “propaganda.”
We can confirm that the details of this incident are directly from police reports and local news coverage. While there have been no direct links between Rollins’ choice of words and Trump’s very similar rhetoric, the rise in hate crimes against Latinos has skyrocketed since Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Others are calling on headlines to reflect the racial identity of the alleged assailant, just as they would if he was black or brown.
Newsweek‘s headline read, “Barre man accused of harassing Hispanic family faces hate crime charges.” In a growing demand that the media address the common denominator of hate crimes being primarily white men, some are calling the outlets out on Twitter. A white man allegedly sexually violated the sense of safety for an entire Latino family among others and did so while spewing anti-Latino slurs. This is America.