Dean Ogren, a popular leatherman in the gay community who is a 1998 inductee in the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, was attacked over the weekend in the Uptown area by a group of teenagers in an incident the police currently are calling a robbery—they later added hate-crime allegations.
Ogren was attacked on Aug. 14 at 2:20 a.m. at 1049 W. Ainslie. He told Windy City Times that approximately 10-15 teenagers attacked him while yelling anti-gay slurs, including 'Faggot!'
'They hit me with an object and beat me up. I can't tell you how long it was,' Ogren said. 'I stayed as close to the parked cars as possible so they couldn't totally surround me.' After the attack, the group then demanded money from him. He described the situation as 'very frightening.' Ogren was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, treated and released. He suffered a cracked rib, contusions and facial scrapes.
The police have called the incident a strong-arm robbery—and late Monday police reportedly added hate-crime charges. Ogren was upset that originally it had not been seen as a hate crime.
'I told the police about the slurs,' he said Monday morning. 'Currently, [ people are ] working to find out why it hasn't been classified as a hate crime. Also, other people have contacted [ state representative ] Larry McKeon [ as well as aldermen ] Helen Shiller and Mary Ann Smith on my behalf.'
On Monday morning, police spokesman Pat Camden confirmed that the incident has been called a robbery but added that the civil-rights section of the department has been notified. The police will be re-classifying the incident as a hate crime, Ogren said in a message to Windy City Times. 'They sent three detectives over who were very cooperative and concerned. To me, this was a statement that they saw [ the incident ] as a problem,' he said. McKeon told Ogren that detectives usually investigate a situation before calling it a hate crime.
Although he was attacked just a couple of blocks from home, Ogren does not intend to move: 'I've invested too much. [ However, ] there's definitely work to be done.'
A prominent spokesman in the LGBT community, Ogren has been involved with numerous organizations, including the NAMES Project, International Mr. Leather and AIDS Walk Chicago.