Two Atlanta Men Plead Guilty To Federal Hate Crime
First Convictions in Georgia for Violations of the
Sexual Orientation Section of the Federal Hate Crimes Law
ATLANTA – Christopher Cain and Dorian Moragne both of Atlanta, Ga., pleaded guilty today in federal court before Senior United States District Judge J. Owen Forrester to beating a man because of his sexual orientation.
“Violence against another person because of his or her sexual orientation has no place in our civilized society,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The citizens of this district should know that we are committed to aggressively prosecuting hate crimes.”
“Hate-fueled violence will not be condoned,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will use all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”
“The FBI remains committed to ensuring the civil rights of all individuals, to include those singled out and attacked because of their perceived differences,” stated Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “These acts of violence should be reported and aggressively investigated to ensure that we send a clear message that these actions will not be tolerated.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On February 4, 2012, Cain, 19, Moragne, 21, and a juvenile, all associated with the Jack City street gang, targeted a 20-year-old gay man as he left a grocery store located in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood. Cain punched the victim in the head and pushed him to the ground. Cain, Moragne and the juvenile surrounded the victim and repeatedly punched and kicked him while the group yelled anti-gay epithets, including “No f****** in Jack City.” Moragne then picked up a tire and struck the victim with it. The group also stole the victim’s cell phone. A fourth person, also with the defendants, recorded the assault using a cell phone. The video footage was posted to the Internet.
Cain and Moragne admitted to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. The federal hate crimes law criminalizes certain acts of violence motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity. This case is the first in Georgia to charge a violation of the sexual orientation section of the federal hate crimes law.
Last year, Cain, Moragne and the juvenile, who was considered an adult under Georgia law, were prosecuted in Fulton County Superior Court for offenses that did not include a hate crime. In State court, Cain and Moragne were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years suspended upon the service of five years. As part of their plea agreement, Federal prosecutors recommended that their Federal and State sentences run concurrently.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Detectives with the Atlanta Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray and Trial Attorney Nicole Lee Ndumele of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.