SIDNEY, Neb. — A western Nebraskaman has been ordered to stand trial on charges he attacked another man outside a bar because he suspected the other man was gay.
Nathan Pohl, 28, of Sidney, is accused of greeting another man March 2 outside a Sidney bar then attacking when the man responded, “Hello,” according to court records.
Witnesses reported Pohl uttered anti-gay slurs and said he “doesn’t like gays” before the attack, Cheyenne County Deputy Attorney Jonathan Stellar said.
A police report said the man who was attacked had been seen holding hands with another man before the assault.
Pohl declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday, saying he might comment at a later time. His court-appointed attorney, Steven Elmshauser, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Pohl was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault, disturbing the peace and criminal trespass. But prosecutors added felony assault to those charges because they believe he targeted the victim for his sexual orientation.
A hate crime involving assault carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
A Cheyenne County judge on Monday ordered Pohl to stand trial on the charges, though online court records do not indicate a trial date has been set.
Two years after the landmark Supreme Court Obergefell case that found same-sex couples do have the right to marry, it’s hard to think they would still be in court trying to adopt children, but welcome to Nebraska. Of all 50 states, the Cornhusker State had one of the most pernicious policies against same-sex couples, or even LGBT [...]