The Stark County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a claim that someone vandalized a transgender teen’s car, by plastering it with crude language.
In a separate incident in May, someone also took a baseball bat to Donovanne Jocas' 2003 Hyundai.
The teen said school bullying has now escalated after she came out as transgender earlier this year, but she's not backing down.
“For other LGBT people and trans people out there, there needs to be someone who’s taking these steps," she said.
The teen’s mother, Michelle Fisher Jocas, posted a photo of the damage on Facebook. The teen’s car had the words “Grow a d***” spray painted on the rear windshield and phallic symbols. The car has been cleaned up since it happened on Thursday.
The Facebook post read in part: "Our response as a family to you since you never show your face: Your fear strengthens us as a family. Your disrespect and hate creates an even tighter bond between us. The wagons are circled as we protect each other in this family. I am sorry you do not have that sense of unconditional love in your own lives. Truly.”
Jocas said she knows who did it. The Sheriff’s Department said no charges have been filed, but they are investigating.
“We’re here to protect people’s rights," Major C.J. Stantz said. "If it’s considered a hate crime, the punishment could be more severe.”
But Ohio's ethnic intimidation law does not specifically mention gender identity. Still Michelle Jocas wants something done before the situation gets worse.
“What if, as it escalates, what if the next time they take Donovanne with a baseball bat, or I have to go find Donovanne," she said. "I have to go back to the sheriff’s department and say my daughter didn’t come home last night. Can you help me find the car with all the spray paint?"
Donovanne Jocas, who will attend Oberlin College in the fall, wants people to change their attitudes.
“I hope that they learn and hopefully change their perspective," she said. "Of course I hope that they’re held accountable for their actions, but more important is that they learn.”
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