Max Pelofske says he showed up at a graduation party on Saturday (26 May) night to congratulate his friend’s sister who was graduating from high school in just a few days.
The 21-year-old had been at the party at an abandoned gravel pit in Proctor, Minnesota, just a short time before he said he was confronted by a guy at the party.
‘He told me to look him in the eyes, and I was really confused because I’d never seen the guy before,’ Pelofske told the Duluth News Tribune. ‘He asked me: ‘Are you gay?’ And I said, ‘Yes. Is that OK?’ ‘
Pelofske said he was then struck in the head by a flying beer can then surrounded by a group of guys who threw him to the ground and began punching and kicking him – all while laughing and smiling.
‘I tried to get up, but I kept getting knocked back down,’ Pelofske said. ‘They were trying to throw me into the fire.’
Pelofske’s friend, Kelly Johnson, said at least nine males were involved in the attack.
‘I thought they were going to kill him,’ Johnson told the newspaper.
Others at the party refute Peloske and Johnson’s version of events.
Two men – ages 18 and 19 – have been arrested and are being held in jail on other charges not related to the alleged attack, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office. They are expected to be charged with assault but it is not yet known whether they will be charged with a hate crime.
Pelofske, who was taken to the hospital, said his ribs are bruised, his face swollen and his back and legs are covered with footmarks.
A Facebook page has been started in support of Pelofske. The page’s creator states: ‘I made this page because I want him to know that he is okay with the world and he didn’t do anything wrong. Those 13 seniors who ganged up on him are the ones who are not okay with the rest of the world.’