A Holbrook man has pleaded guilty to a hate crime for attacking a same-sex couple in Patchogue on Mother’s Day.
On May 14, two young women were at Mascot Dock in Patchogue enjoying the sunset and taking photos together. Thomas Gair, Jr., 66, and co-defendant Joseph Kess were allegedly also at the dock and began to make derogatory comments about the women’s sexual orientation. Gair punched both women while Kess allegedly urinated on their vehicle, threw beer cans at the women, and threw one of the women’s phones and sandals off the dock into the water. Kess allegedly grabbed one of the women and dragged her toward the edge of the dock, attempting to throw her in while telling her that he was going to drown her. The woman desperately tried to keep herself from being thrown into the water while Gair repeatedly punched her in the head until a good Samaritan intervened and saved her.
Both women sustained bruises on their faces and bodies from being attacked. One woman’s fingernail ripped back from her nailbed entirely and subsequently fell off, causing excruciating pain. Onlookers called 911.
Gair was indicted by a grand jury on June 20 and was arrested and arraigned on the indictment on August 9, before County Court Judge Steven A. Pilewski for third-degree assault as a hate crime, a Class E felony, and two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment, a Class A misdemeanor.
On June 28, Kess was arraigned on the indictment before Judge Pilewski for the charges of third-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime, a Class D felony; third-degree assault as a hate crime, a Class E felony, and second-degree aggravated harassment, a Class A misdemeanor. His next court date is October 31.
On October 19, Gair pleaded guilty before Pilewski to all charges in the indictment. The District Attorney’s Office requested that Gair be sentenced to one to three years in prison. However,
Pilewski promised to sentence him to probation. He is due back in court for sentencing on December 14.
“This defendant physically and verbally attacked two women simply because of their sexual orientation,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. “This kind of bigotry is unacceptable, and my office will continue to use all available resources to ensure that those who commit crimes motivated by hatred will be held accountable.”