Gay group files lawsuit on behalf of Rifle resident who says he was beaten |

Gay group files lawsuit on behalf of Rifle resident who says he was beaten

Donna DanielsSpecial to The Aspen Times

A lawyer for a gay and lesbian advocacy group filed a civil lawsuit Thursday for Kyle Skyock of Rifle, who says he was beaten up because he is gay.Skyock was found unconscious by the side of Highway 6&24 just east of Rifle on the morning of Feb. 11, 2001. He suffered a fractured skull, three broken ribs and multiple scrapes and bruises.The civil suit was filed against four Rifle youths who Skyock claims beat him up. Three are juveniles. The suit claims that Skyock’s civil rights were violated and that he was assaulted and falsely imprisoned.Calvin Lee of Glenwood Springs asked the Denver-based Colorado Legal Initiatives to file the suit for Skyock and his mother, Sharlene Skyock, according to the group’s legal director, Michael Brewer. Lee is the Skyocks’ attorney.”The complaint alleges that Kyle’s assailants violated his federal civil rights by targeting him as a gay person,” Brewer said. “Kyle said they called him a `fag.'”Brewer said the case will be based on Skyock’s story of the events on the night of Feb. 10 and on statements made after the incident by a Rifle High School student who said he and three others beat Skyock up.”One reason Kyle and his mother want to go forward is they’d like to see justice done,” Brewer said. “We’re hoping we’ll get enough facts and information into open court that they will persuade the DA to file criminal charges.”A year after the incident, criminal charges have not been filed.”There was insufficient evidence to prosecute a criminal case against anybody,” said 9th Judicial District Attorney Mac Myers.Skyock was found face down on the side of the highway in an area strewn with river rocks and dirt. He was unconscious and had apparently been there for several hours, Myers said.His blood alcohol level was 0.23 at 7:55 a.m. The legal limit for drunk driving is 0.1, the district attorney said.Police and the district attorney concluded Skyock’s injuries did not point to an assault.”Kyle’s injuries were completely inconsistent with what he reported to the police,” Myers said.