A hate crime, also called a bias crime or bias-related crime, is criminal activity motivated, in whole or in part, by the perpetrator’s bias or attitude against an individual victim or group based on perceived or actual personal characteristics, such as their race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to the victim, members of the victim’s group and the community as a whole can feel victimized by a hate crime.
In Maine, a hate crime is a civil violation prosecuted by the attorney general, usually combined with criminal charges like criminal threatening or assault.
Maine statute reads: “A person has the right to engage in lawful activities without being subject to physical force or violence, damage or destruction of property, trespass on property or the threat of physical force or violence, damage or destruction of property or trespass on property motivated by reason of race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.”
Examples of specific crimes identifiable as hate crimes include assault, burglary, forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, intimidation, destruction, damage or vandalism of property in which the victim is intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived protected category.
Hate crimes are prohibited, in separate ways, by Maine law and Colby policy. Thus, offenders may be prosecuted under state criminal statutes and subject to disciplinary action by Colby. The College may pursue disciplinary action while criminal action is pending, or even if criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute. In addition to any criminal penalties, students found responsible for a hate crime are subject to disciplinary action and penalties, up to and including suspension or expulsion.