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Kevin Brown, 19, of 196-40 45th Ave. in Auburndale, faces 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of assault as a hate crime Jan. 17, according to the Queens district attorney. His co-defendant, 21-year-old Paul Heavey of Little Neck, has not yet entered a plea. The pair allegedly used anti-Asian slurs while they beat up two young Chinese Americans in an early morning fight in Douglaston on Aug. 12, according to prosecutors.But as victims' advocates hope for a conviction in the Heavey case, they are exploring how to help victims of future hate crimes in the nation's most diverse county, where the myriad ethnic groups that inhabit the borough do not always live in harmony."We want to put together a boroughwide conference on hate crimes, with the purpose being not 'let's hold hands and how good it is to be together,' but what do you do if you're a victim of a hate crime," said Dr. Arthur Flug, director of the Holocaust Resource Center at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.Flug said the flurry of rallies and news conferences that followed the Aug. 12 attack in Douglaston spurred the idea. He has been working with City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), the Police Department Hate Crimes Task Force, and members of different ethnic and religious communities in Queens to put together a program with practical information that hate crimes victims can use."You always have to ask yourself, what's the next step? Because just holding a press conference, everybody goes home," Flug said. Officials have met several times and Flug said he hopes to have a program drafted by the summer that could then be presented to schools and community groups. Liu, who stood next to the Chinese-American victims after the attack, said programs like the one he and Flug are working on are essential. He also praised police and prosecutors for enforcing the hate crimes statutes, which give stiffer penalties for crimes if they are found to be motivated by race, religion or sexual orientation."There is a readiness on the part of law enforcement and the district attorney to analyze violent crimes and identify them as a hate crimes when the shoe fits," Liu said in a phone interview. "That sends a very a strong message."One of the victims, John Lu, said he was satisfied with Brown's plea."It was so strange to be called these names and to be told to 'get out of the neighborhood' where I had lived for so many years," he said in a statement through Liu's office. "I don't want this to happen to anyone else."Heavey is due back in court March 9, the day after Brown was scheduled to be sentenced.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 174.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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