Sep 23, 2010
The FBI has stepped in to investigate the hate crime against Carol Ann and Laura Stutte, a lesbian couple whose home was burned on September 4th. The Stutte’s endured years of threats and verbal abuse from neighbors who believe discrimination against Gay and Lesbian Americans is acceptable.
Carol Ann Stutte and her partner, Laura Stutte, are afraid to return alone to what is left of their Vonore home in Monroe County.
After being victims of an arson and having the word “queers” spray painted on their garage, the lesbian couple is fearful for their safety.
“We would love to stay (in the area),” Carol Stutte said Friday. “But we will never, never rebuild (on that property) again. I take someone with me constantly — one or two people to make sure I’m OK while I’m up there.”
Detective Travis Jones, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, said authorities aren’t releasing many details about the fire — which happened Sept. 4 at about 10 p.m.
“It is an arson and we are continuing the investigation,” he said Friday. “There are people of interest in the case,” and authorities, including the state Bomb and Arson Squad, are still conducting interviews.
The Stutte’s home was a complete loss. “There is nothing left,” Carol Stutte said. “They are calling it a black hole,”
The couple, who have been together for more than 16 years, were in Nashville celebrating the five-year anniversary of moving into their Vonore home, the night it was burned to the ground.
Carol Stutte’s daughter from a previous marriage would have been at the home at the time, but decided to go with the couple to Nashville.
“She would’ve been trapped,” Carol Stutte said.
Carol Stutte said she and Laura have been harassed and threatened, specifically by one neighbor, on and off for about five years.
If you are being terrorized by a christian or member of a hate group note the following points.
- Document every occasion of harassment and violence. Make sure someone outside your home has a copy of the document in case the christian hate monger decides to burn your house.
- Install a night vision trail camera’s outside your home. These self contained motion activated cameras will capture any illicit activity around your home even at night. Make sure someone outside your home knows about the cameras. Do not trust the police to remove the memory card, they tend to be lost.
- Report every incident to the police and demand a copy of the report. Police reports will establish a pattern of harassment and are a critical resource if you are forced to defend yourself. Unfortunately police reports have the habit of disappearing in bigoted departments so be sure you have copies. Make sure someone outside your home also has a copy.
- If the harassment appears to be directed by a church or hate group report them to the FBI’s Terrorism Tips Line (800-225-5324). Many times local law enforcement officers are members of the very christian hate group you need protection from. Don’t risk it! Go directly to the FBI.
- Many states allow the use of lethal force in self defense situations. Castle Laws, for instance, give people the legal right to defend themselves in their home with deadly force. Research your state laws and determine the lethal defense boundaries.
Do not tolerate violence against yourself or your family.