Dover man charged with hate crime at Pride Festival

DOVER — A 31-year-old Dover man was charged with a misdemeanor hate crime following investigation into a confrontation at the Delaware Pride Festival on Aug. 11, authorities said Tuesday.

Sean Wiley was allegedly shouting homosexual slurs at attendees, Dover Police said, and a 62-year-old man was found bleeding from a punch in the mouth at approximately 3:30 p.m. Spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said Mr. Wiley “openly stated that he punched (someone) in the face.

“(Mr.) Wiley was showing obvious signs of alcohol intoxication at the time.”

The annual event was being held at Legislative Mall when officers were called to the scene for a reported fight. Several people flagged down police, who then contacted the injured man. Mr. Wiley was “quickly” identified as a suspect, police said.

Nobody else accompanied Mr. Wiley to the festival “to our knowledge,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

Investigation determined that “Mr. Wiley had grabbed private body parts of a 46-year-old female …and a 31-year-old male … who were also attending the festival,” police said.

Sean Wiley

Mr. Wiley allegedly swung at a Dover Police officer as authorities attempted to get identification, and he “was taken to the ground where he continued to resist,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

“Officers placed Wiley in a patrol vehicle and transported him back to the Dover Police Department.”

Initial charges include three counts of offensive touching, third-degree assault, menacing, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, third-degree trespass and felony resisting arrest. A $3,900 secured bond was ordered on those charges.

Police continued to investigate and eventually obtained a warrant for a hate crime charge.

Mr. Wiley turned himself in to Dover Police last Thursday, was processed and arraigned. The count brought a $500 secured bond and Mr. Wiley was held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna before it was posted.

Cpl. Hoffman said, “It is extremely rare for an instance like this to occur in our area.”

Defining hate crime

Based on the assault charge, the hate crime was classified as a Class A misdemeanor, police said.

According to Delaware Code, a hate crime is defined as:

(a) Any person who commits, or attempts to commit, any crime as defined by the laws of this State, and who intentionally:

(1) Commits said crime for the purpose of interfering with the victim’s free exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege or immunity protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or commits said crime because the victim has exercised or enjoyed said rights; or

(2) Selects the victim because of the victim’s race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, shall be guilty of a hate crime. For purposes of this section, the term “sexual orientation” means heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality, and the term “gender identity” means a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.


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