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Penn State Altoona Student Charged Following Alleged Homophobic Assault

The State College Police Department concluded its investigation on the the assault that went viral on social media last week. As a result of the investigation, police filed simple assault and harassment charges against Penn State Altoona student Matthew Chandlee today.

The incident took place between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. on October 4. The police report filled in the blanks on the timeline of events before and after the assault.

Chandlee was asked to leave Sigma Nu and was escorted from the property by fraternity members when an argument ensued between them. “In the course of that argument, derogatory comments and obscenities were being yelled between Chandlee and the fraternity brothers,” according to the police report. During this exchange, a fraternity brother allegedly used a homophobic slur towards the defendant.

The victim of the assault, John Mateer, was present during the argument and was offended by the use of the slur. According to the police report, mateer got involved in the dispute and tried to stop the defendant and the fraternity brother from using the homophobic slur. Mateer was then also told to leave the property.

As the victim was walking away, he asked Chandlee why he was following him. According to the police report he responded with: “You’re gay, I hate gays.” This is when things got physical and Chandlee punched the victim, knocking him to the ground. He struck him again when he hit the ground.

Following the assault, Mateer contacted a friend who brought him back to Sigma Nu where the brothers gave him first aid treatment.

The State College Police Department worked in conjunction with University Police throughout the investigation.

UPDATE (2:10 p.m.): The university responded to the assault in a Penn State news release Thursday afternoon.

“In this case, as in all others, it is critical that we afford due process to the individual charged and that we not draw conclusions about guilt or innocence,” Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, said. “However, broadly speaking, any violence that causes this measure of physical and emotional harm to an individual deeply harms our community, too. We must continue to do all we can to prevent such behavior and work together to promote a safe, welcoming and respectful environment for all members of our University community.”


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