Terrance Heath

The LGBT Hate Crimes Project: Carlos Lopez

Filed By Terrance Heath | August 24, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Carlos Lopez, facial reconstruction surgery, hate crimes against LGBT people, Salt Lake City, Utah

The unpredictable nature of hate crimes isn’t something that gets a lot of consideration, but it’s a factor in the increased level of stress LGBT persons often experience. At least according to researchers at UCLA.

This is the finding of a new study by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles.

They analyzed data from the California Health Interview Survey on more than 2000 people and compared the sexual minorities and associated mental health treatments.

They found that 48% of sexual minorities reported receiving mental health treatment over the last year.
They say that their findings are true because people who are gay are at increased risk of facing discrimination and violence, which can lead to increased stress.

When it comes to hate crimes, if you’re a member of a targeted group, you’re often on guard regarding the potential for violence -- especially outside of what you usually consider “safe space.” That adds up to a higher baseline stress level, because (a) you live with the expectation of violence and (b) you never know what will be a catalyst form thar violence.

Carlos Lopez foun out that taking a picture with someone was enough to earn him severe head trauma and major facial reconstructive surgery.

Carlos Lopez

On August 9, 2008, gay teenager Carlos Lopez was attacked and beaten by Fa Junior Moi Moi, at Ensign Peak near Salt Lake City, after Lopez took a picture with Moi Moi and Moi Moi later realized Lopez was gay.

The Background

Lopez, 18, and Moi Moi, 20, were each socializing with friends at Ensign Peak on August 9, 2009. Lopez took a picture of Moi Moi with a group of other people at the part.

The Attack

After the picture was taken, Moi Moi asked Lopez if he was gay. When Lopez refused to answer him, Moi Moi became enraged, hitting Lopez several times, and breaking his obrital bone. According to police, several of Moi Moi’s friends took part in the beating. Moi Moi also attacked Lucelena Lopz, hitting her while she was on the ground. The victim’s friend who took the picture was also attacked.

The Aftermath

The Victim

Lopez suffered severe head trauma, and required major reconstructive surgery.

Most Wanted

In November 2008, the Salt Lake City Police Department added Moi Moi to its "Most Wanted" list, in an effort to track him down. In early November, the police received information that Moi Moi may have fled to Hawaii, where he has family.


Moi Moi was arrested in Honolulu, Hawaii, over the weekend of February 6-7. Detectives travelled from Utah to Honolulu to extradite Moi Moi. Moi Moi was brought back to Utah to face 2 counts of felony aggravated assault, and 1 count of misdemeanor assault. If convicted, he faces five years to life in prison and a fine of $10,000 for each count.

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