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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime Against Asian American Man

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty today to one federal hate crime count. 

According to court documents, John Sullivan pleaded guilty to willfully causing bodily injury to victim G.N. through the use of a dangerous weapon (a vehicle) because of G.N.’s actual and perceived race and national origin.

“This defendant’s hate-filled attack not only seriously injured the victim, but also traumatized three children in his family, solely because they were Asian American,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “No person in this country should have to fear for their own or their family’s safety because of who they are or where they are from. The Justice Department is determined to stem the rising tide of hate crimes and will vigorously prosecute those who commit them.”

“The actions of John Sullivan are appalling and a sad reflection of intolerance and hate that is far too prevalent in our society,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy for the District of Massachusetts. “Sullivan violently assaulted an individual in front of children because of his race and national origin. This behavior will never be tolerated and we will continue to aggressively prosecute hate crimes.”

“John Sullivan’s hateful and violent conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, was intended to physically harm the victim in this case and instill fear within the Asian community in Quincy,” said Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Boston Field Office. “The FBI and our partners simply won’t tolerate crimes spurred by hate. While we all have the right to believe whatever we want, when those views lead to violence, that’s a different and dangerous story. We urge anyone who is a victim or witness to a hate crime, to report it to us at 1-800-CALL-FBI or”

According to the plea agreement, Sullivan encountered G.N., who is Vietnamese, and his family, who are also Asian American, outside a post office. Sullivan had never met the victim or the victim’s family before. In front of the family’s three children under the age of 12, Sullivan yelled that the family should “go back to China,” threatened to kill them and drove his car into G.N., causing G.N. to land on the hood of the moving car and remain there while the car moved approximately 200 feet. Eventually Sullivan stopped the car, causing G.N. to fall into a construction ditch and suffer bodily injury and pain.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 26. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI Boston Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Torey Cummings for the District of Massachusetts and Trial Attorney Tara Allison of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

Updated April 4, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-393