“How do you know I’m not a female?”
An Indiana man arrested last Friday after allegedly sexually assaulting a Walmart employee in the women’s restroom reportedly pretended he was a transgender woman in an attempt to talk his way out of the incident.
When police came to arrest the suspect, Nathaniel Brown, they found him in the electronics department of the store looking up transgender bathroom laws on the internet, the News and Tribune reported.
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The alleged victim claims she was washing her hands when a man emerged from a stall behind her and began groping her. According to the police report, she was able to elbow the man in the chest and escape to find store management.
According to local reports, management approached Brown and asked him if he knew he in a women’s restroom. He allegedly replied by asking why there wasn’t a transgender restroom, adding: “How do you know I’m not a female?”
A witness told police she went into the women’s room after the alleged incident to find Brown drying his hands. She said Brown smiled at her but she “got the vibe he was up to something.”
Brown denies assaulting the woman, instead claiming that he had only bumped into her but not grabbed or touched her. He further claimed that he had gone into the women’s restroom because it was cleaner than the men’s room.
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Brown was arrested and charged with sexual battery, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a syringe. He is currently being held in jail on $20,000 cash bond.
The story comes amid a national debate regarding the rights of trans individuals. LGBT activists insist people should be able to use the restroom that correlates with their preferred gender identity, going so far as to push for laws that force businesses to accommodate transgender individuals.
The conversation over transgender rights has led to intense scrutiny of criminal incidents involving transgender men and women. Just last week, a Houston public library caused an uproar when it allowed a man convicted of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy in 2008 to read to young children during the library’s “Drag Queen storytime.” Meanwhile, trans rights activists accuse detractors of fomenting bigotry by cherry-picking isolated occurrences. Critics have argued that predators may try to take advantage of trans-friendly policies in order to perpetrate abuse.
A study released in September found no link between Massachusetts transgender anti-discrimination law and bathroom crimes.
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