Photo of Jae and Melissa, courtesy of Gofundme
by MK Scott
Police are still on the look out for a 34-year-old Tacoma man that attacked a lesbian couple on Dec. 30 during a Seattle Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field.
Prosecutors say a lesbian couple attending a recent Seattle Seahawks game endured a litany of vulgar comments from a 34-year-old Tacoma man, whose crude and apparently drunken behavior escalated to a physical attack that has resulted in hate-crime and assault charges being filed against him in King County Superior Court.
The charges allege the man, Jay Dee Harp III, grabbed the breast of one of the women and punched her wife in the face when they protested.
Harp spent a little over 24 hours in the King County Jail following his arrest Dec. 30 at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks were playing the Arizona Cardinals, jail and court records show. He posted a $12,500 bond and was released Dec. 31, according to jail records.
Harp is now facing charges of second-degree assault and malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute, and a $100,000 warrant was issued last week for his arrest due to the ‘violent nature’ of his attack and the threat he poses to community safety, Deputy Prosecutor Rhyan Anderson wrote in charging papers.
Harp remained at large on Wednesday, according The Seattle Times.
According to the charges, the lesbian couple and the mother of one of the women were seated in the same row in Section 118 at CenturyLink Field as a man wearing Arizona Cardinals apparel who was drinking heavily. According to the charges, the man walked by the women multiple times to exit the aisle to buy beer, each time stepping on the women’s feet and making sexual comments as he passed, including asking ‘Do you need a man in your life?’
Sometime in the third quarter, the man returned with another beer, but this time stopped as he passed the couple. Witnesses said he unzipped one woman’s jacket, grabbed her breast and refused to let go, according to the charges. The woman’s wife and several nearby fans intervened, taking the man to the ground. During the scuffle, he punched one of the women in the face, bloodying her nose and breaking her front tooth, the charges allege.
Fans flagged down police working security at the stadium and the officers responded to the fight.
‘It took multiple officers to detain the defendant and he continued to aggressively fight and assault the arresting officers, punching one of them in the stomach,’ Anderson wrote, noting officers ultimately had to use a stun gun on Harp to get him under control.
In a statement to police, the woman who was punched in the face wrote: ‘I have been an active member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community for decades and fought for marriage equality as an adult. The man’s chronic and repeated comments about our sexuality, based on my experience, suggest my sexual orientation may have motivated today’s assault.’
That woman was Jae, according to a Gofundme page that was set up on their behalf, who along with her wife, Melissa both reside in Vancouver, WA. The harassment eventually ended in the Harp punching Jae in the face.
Jae is suffering from facial fractures and is unable to work. Because of this, she may even lose her job. Melissa and Jae are left with the financial burden of not working and still needing to pay household bills.
Melissa and Jae are both trying to emotionally process what happened. Neither of them are the type of people that would ask for money or anything from anyone. But they are going to need all the support they can get.
Anyone that knows these two ladies knows that they have kind hearts and would do any thing for anyone, without question. Let’s do the same for them.
According to the gofundme page they are 50% away from their goal. Please check it out. https://www.gofundme.com/support-for-jae-and-melissa
Attempts to reach out to both the Seahawks and Mayor Durkan’s office for comment were made Thursday afternoon but were not returned by press time.
Information in this article from various news sources.