Ohio teen recovers from attempted lynching

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Robert Cantu said four people put a noose around his neck and dragged him from the sidewalk to an adjacent parking lot.

“These guys were in the back of a truck with a noose and they jumped out and said, ‘Get the black kids’ and they all ran and then they said, ‘Get the spic.’ So they jumped on me, pulled me down and put the noose on me,” said Robert, who is a Latino.

Robert’s mother, Marcie Cantu, said they also told her son they were going to take him to a park to hang him. Two of Robert’s friends and a passerby rescued the 17-year-old, Robert’s mom said.

She said they saved her son’s life. “They would have killed him. There’s no doubt in my mind,” she said.

The alleged attack happened a little over two weeks ago. Assistant Prosecutor Charles T. McConville is handling the case and said one person has been charged with ethnic intimidation. He said it’s the first ethnic intimidation charge that anyone can remember in Knox County. He wouldn’t comment further on the case because it’s an ongoing investigation.

A trial was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday for suspect Dale Cline. Judge Ronk will preside over the court.

Marcie told NBC 4 McConville said Cline was expected to plead guilty. She said her family has endured prejudice since they’ve lived in Mount Vernon. Marcie claims that the incident is the second hate crime against her son. Last year, someone captured the beating of Robert on a cell phone.

The Cantu family said they want to bring attention to the issue so that hate crime will be taken seriously. They’ve contacted the anti-defamation league.

Marcie wanted to know why the charge isn’t attempted murder or assault and why others haven’t been charged. She said more victims of ethnic violence need to speak up to prevent the same from happening to others.

“The police department doesn’t do anything, and if I would have done that to someone else, like a white kid, I would be in jail right now,” Robert said.

The Mount Vernon police continued to investigate.

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