Originally created 05/18/98

Gay woman calls assaults hate crimes



LANCASTER, S.C. -- A 40-year-old gay woman here is in hiding after the latest of two assaults she says are hate crimes.

"We fear for her life," said the woman's mother, Jackie Adams. "She's in a place where nobody knows where she is but I."

Authorities said Regan Wolf was strung up and brutally beaten Wednesday outside the mobile home she shares with her companion. It was the second time she's been beaten since December, authorities said.

Ms. Adams said pickups sometimes pull into her daughter's front yard at night, their occupants shouting threats and anti-gay slurs such as, "The next time you get a bullet."

The family has contacted the FBI. In Wednesday's beating, Ms. Wolf reported the suspects stole a prescription drug, and Ms. Adams hopes the FBI will consider it a federal crime.

Lancaster County Sheriff's officials, who have asked the State Law Enforcement Division to assist in the investigation, said they do not want to comment specifically on the ongoing probe.

"We are doing everything possible, and we are working with SLED," Chief Deputy Johnny Steele said. "It's easy to say law enforcement isn't doing its job when a case isn't developing. Sometimes it's difficult for families to understand."

Ms. Adams said the first assault came Dec. 26 as her daughter was putting away Christmas things. Ms. Wolf answered a knock at the door, and someone hit her on the head, Ms. Adams said.

Ms. Adams found her daughter shirtless and beaten on the back by a blunt object. She had been strung up on the front porch with nylon rope, her mother said.

The latest beating occurred while Ms. Wolf went outside to plant tomatoes. A man approached with a black object in his hand, Ms. Adams said, saying he was there to read the meter. Someone hit her on the head and knocked her unconscious.

Jenna Wolf, Regan Wolf's housemate, discovered her beaten more severely than the first time and strung up spread-eagle on the rear deck. She had been hanging there in the sun for two hours before she was found, the family reported to sheriff's officers.

On both occasions, Regan Wolf was treated at Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster and released.