WOODSTOCK - A McHenry County judge told a 17-year-old girl she should have left the area rather than throwing a rock at three boys who were yelling homosexual slurs at her friend.
But Judge Charles Weech acquitted Kimberlynn S. Bolanos of misdemeanor criminal damage to property today after ruling that she twice threw a rock in self-defense. The rock broke the rear-side window of the trio’s car on July 8 and caused less than $300 in damage.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Weech said. “And that’s what happened.”
Bolanos, formerly of Crystal Lake, testified that she and a 15-year-old boy were walking north on Green Street in McHenry when three boys, one with a megaphone, shouted derogatory terms for gay men at them from a car.
When the car passed them a second time and the harassment resumed, Bolanos testified that she threatened to throw a rock at the car if it passed them a third time. Bolanos said one of the three boys got out of the car and repeatedly called her a name, which two of the boys denied.
But the car returned again, coming so close to Bolanos that she said she had to jump back to avoid being hit. She said she threw the rock twice “just because I was scared.” The first toss missed; the second broke the window.
The car’s driver, a 16-year-old McHenry boy, chased Bolanos’ 15-year-old friend. She said the older boy grabbed and threatened the 15-year-old, but the 16-year-old testified that he only approached the boy and explained that he called police about the broken window.
Defense attorney Dan Hofmann argued that the three boys’ conduct amounted to a felony hate crime, because they committed disorderly conduct or assault because of the 15-year-old’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.
“They are shouting out of a megaphone - a megaphone - to make no mistake they were committing a hate crime,” Hofmann said.
But prosecutors argued that Bolanos was not acting in self-defense, emphasizing discrepancies between her and the 15-year-old’s accounts. They argued she was taking the law into her own hands out of annoyance and frustration.
“A 17-year-old [decided] she didn’t like what was going on,” Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Windon said. “She was going to do something about it.”
The three boys testified that their car only passed the two pedestrians once. They denied revving the car’s engine in a threatening way or almost running Bolanos over.
But Weech said he found Bolanos’ and her friend’s testimony more credible than the trio’s. The three teens in the car had ample opportunity to discuss the incident before the trial this week, Weech said. At Bolanos’ request, Weech, rather than a jury, evaluated the evidence and rendered a verdict.
“It’s obvious to me by the carefulness of their words that they had orchestrated to some extent their testimony,” Weech said.
Court records indicate the 16-year-old driver was charged was disorderly conduct, an ordinance violation, which was later dropped. It wasn’t clear whether misdemeanor or felony charges were filed against the three, because juvenile records are not available to the public.