Man jailed for homophobic attack on naked cyclists with three-foot metal pipe

Defendant Standing Before the Judge

A man has been sentenced to three years in jail for assaulting and shouting homophobic slurs at two naked cyclists in Northwest Portland. 

Robert Earl Houchins, 40, pleaded guilty to striking two cyclists with a three-foot-long metal pipe as they took part in a naked bike ride passing through the area of Northwest 19th Avenue and Flanders Street, the Multnomah County District Attorney confirmed. 

The assault against the cyclists took place on 3 June, 2023, and has been deemed a bias crime. 

Bystander, Houchins, picked up the metal pipe, approached the cyclists and directed a homophobic slur at them. 

He then struck two of the cyclists across their backs with the metal pipe as they passed. Neither was seriously injured. 

Houchins pled guilty to one count of attempted assault in the second degree and one count of bias crime in the first degree. 

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He was sentenced by Judge Steffan Alexander on 24 October, 2023, to three years behind bars. 

The 40-year-old is currently serving his sentence in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. 

Data released in October, as part of the FBI’s annual Crime in the Nation report, recorded a concerning rise in anti-LGBTQ+, anti-Semitic, and anti-Black hate crimes in 2022. 

According to the report, which analyses over 11 million criminal offences committed in the US from over 15,000 agencies, hate crimes based on sexual orientation have seen a sharp spike from 2021 to 2022.

In total, it found that over 11,634 hate crime incidents were reported last year. That’s a jump from 2021’s 10,840 reported hate crimes. 

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