Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are There More Untold Hate Crimes in Provincetown?

It looks like we should be very concerned over the level of effort that is being put into investigating and acting upon crimes against GLBT people in Provincetown. Here is a letter from Don Gorton, Chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project to the Cape Codder newspaper:

September 22, 2007

To the editor of the Cape Codder:

The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project calls on the Cape Codder to retract the following statement which appears in the article “Assault Probed As Hate Crime” by reporter Steve Desrouches: “The last reported hate crime in Provincetown was in June 2004, and it was determined to be of an anti-gay nature.” The story in today’s Cape Cod Times, available at:

reveals that police are investigating two other likely hate crimes more recent than 2004. In our view, there are almost certainly more cases that have slipped through the cracks, because Provincetown Police are unfamiliar with what bias indicators are except for the most obvious—epithets. Less readily-detectable cases of hate-motivated violence, even where reported, have undoubtedly escaped their notice. Moreover, the pattern evidence that has come to light puts the violence against Barry Scott in a new light under the relevant bias indicator analysis.

I am not certain whether the factual error in the Cape Codder story, written at the same time as the Cape Cod Times story, is the result of sloppy journalism on Mr. Desrouche’s part or whether he was deliberately misled by Provincetown Police. Since the story reported the erroneous statements of the Provincetown Acting Police Chief as fact, the culpability rests with the Cape Codder as well.

It is clear that Mr. Desrouches put attack journalism ahead of getting his facts straight. The Anti-Violence Project is prepared to take hits from the press if that is the cost of bringing hate crimes to light. But the readers of the Cape Codder deserve better. One is reminded of the Venetian press, in league with the Chamber of Commerce, which covered up the cholera epidemic which dispatched Professor Aschenbach in Thomas Mann’s Death In Venice.

The Anti-Violence Project implores the Cape Codder to retract the erroneous statement about the incidence of hate crimes in Provincetown which made it into print in the Cape Codder. The truth matters.


Don Gorton, Chairperson
The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project

A Travel Advisory for Provincetown has been issued. All GLBT people should be very cautious while traveling to Provincetown, and if you are going there, please make sure you are in the company of friends at all times, especially late at night.

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