It took Eliseu Otoni four days to escape, according to police. When police found him at a friend’s house, he was shirtless and bleeding from the forehead, lip and hands. He didn’t have any shoes. He had scratches on his rib cage and back.
He told police he had been held hostage for four days in his own apartment in the basement of the Philadelphia Baptist Church where the pastor was allowing him to stay.
Otoni, 50, had been hanging out with Jackson Sugrue for a few weeks. The 19-year-old would borrow clothes from Otoni and crash at his place, according to a police report. And he knew that Otoni was gay.
“Mr. Otoni stated ‘he is beautiful with a beautiful body,’” wrote Officer Cosme in the police report on Sugrue. But there was no relationship, according to Otoni.
According to Otoni, the two smoked crack together in the church basement on June 27, and Sugrue became upset with Otoni.
He was so enraged that he locked Otoni in the apartment, depriving him of food and water. Otoni was too terrified to even try to leave, he told police.
“I know you like me,” Sugrue allegedly screamed at him while assaulting him. “I know you are gay.”
Sugrue allegedly grabbed Otoni and threw him on the floor. He stepped on his neck and hit him with a bat, the police report states. He took a black coffee table and struck him in the head with it.
Sugrue has been arrested and faces a hate crime charge, charges of assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.
However, his attorney Kenneth Gross says Sugrue was the actual victim. In a statement that rings of a gay panic defense, Gross told Metro Daily West that 50-year-old Otoni was trying to take advantage of the younger Sugrue.
“He (Otoni) was trying to entice my client to do things that were against his nature,” Gross said.
Sugrue’s parents further claimed that Otoni had become obsessed with their son, and that he couldn’t have trapped Otoni over the four days because he was was home with them for more than a day during that period.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous to suggest my son would have anything to do with a hate crime,” said Frank Sugrue.
Sugrue was ordered held on $1,000 bail and to stay away from Otoni and the church. He is due back in court Aug. 1 for a pretrial conference.