DELTA, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The case is now in the hands of the Millard County Attorney who will determine whether or not Rick Jones will face charges. But, could this case impact the way future hate crimes are reported in the future?
The investigation into the Delta hate crime on 22-year-old Rick Jones is now in the hands of the Millard County Attorney’s office after The Millard County Sheriff’s office handed over their part of their investigation.
“The case has been placed in his hands, to screen it and do with it whatever needs to be done,” said Millard County Sheriff Dekker.
Thousands across the state and country rallied around Jones when he was allegedly attacked in Delta that police were calling a hate crime.
Paul C. Burke, the attorney for Rick Jones, says his client is remorseful and has taken steps to remedy what he’s done.
“Our client has accepted and acknowledged responsibility for the reported incidents and we view them very much as a cry for help.”
The question now is how this case will impact victims of future hate crimes and their reporting of such crimes.
Kent Frogley and Burke both agree that the exposure of this case would not have a negative impact on the reporting of hate crimes.
“Genuine victims of hate crimes should be heartened by the response of law enforcement here because from the governor on down, the state of Utah responded appropriately,” added Burke.
Lawmakers like Sen. Dabakis and Lt. Gov. Cox has expressed their support for Jones and wished him well through statements, hoping he receives the professional help that he needs.
This case also brings to light how many within the LGBT community still struggle with their identity.
“There can be such hatred for themselves and there’s no trust,” said Leesa Myers, an emotional wellness coach.
One of the firs things someone can do when struggling with their identity is to reach out to someone they trust so they can share and not feel rejected.
“There’s nothing to be fixed, there’s nothing broken, it’s just changing their mindset of loving themselves, and then allowing them to let others love them,” said Myers.
Meyers says, those who identify as LGBT feel trapped because they grow up being told how they feel and how they think is wrong. She says, “if you’re thinking God created you defective and everyone else is saying you’re defective, how else are you going to react?”
She says individuals who are struggling with their identity need to do several things, “The first thing they need to do is get really solid with themselves, to talk to somebody that they feel close to and they can share, and they know wont judge them and reject them.”
While this case highlights the struggle Jones is going through, living in a family who is still trying to come to terms with his sexual orientation, Meyers believes him being gay isn’t the only indicator for his behavior. While she has never met Jones, from an outsiders perspective she believes there is a lot of unhappiness that he is dealing with at the moment.
Burke says his client is now receiving the professional assistance he needs.