By Travis Gettys
NEWPORT - Carl Fox said the death threat he received last year was not the first time he's been victimized because he's an openly gay man who speaks his mind, but he said the arrest of a suspect in the case is an encouraging sign.
Fox, 46, said he has been threatened and assaulted and had his property damaged many times because of his sexual orientation.
But he said police and prosecutors haven't always vigorously pursued the perpetrators.
"I've been told in the past, 'There's no hate-crime legislation, so there's nothing we can do,' " said Fox, owner of Newport's Crazy Fox Saloon.
Arthur Deitz, 55, of Golf Manor was indicted Sept. 10 in federal court on two counts of sending threatening communication through the mail and was arrested later that day. He is accused of sending Nazi-themed letters to Fox and a Kenton County defense attorney.
Deitz, described to Fox by authorities as a loner who works as a landscaper, will go to trial Nov. 8 in federal court, where he faces five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years' probation if convicted.
Fox, an outspoken supporter of gay rights, received a letter Dec. 27, 2003, warning him that his name had been added to a hit list, and the unidentified lawyer received a nearly identical one Dec. 26, 2001, with a reference to one of the attorney's clients.
Although Deitz, who is out of jail but must wear a monitoring device, is not charged with a hate crime, Fox said such laws have encouraged victims to report crimes based on their sexual orientation.
Residents of the neighborhood where Fox operates his bar rallied behind him after he received the letter - raising $1,200 in reward money for anyone with information leading to an arrest and a conviction.
An unidentified person could be eligible for that money, said FBI agent Doug Warner, and members of the East Row Historic Foundation are gathering pledges made early this year.
"Newport is a very diverse city, and we're very proud of that diversity," said Bob Yoder, who helped raise the money. "One of our neighbors was threatened, and we thought that what we could do is stand by him."
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