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A parolee who admitted to a hate-crime attack at a bar that was the scene of an early moment in the gay-rights movement said Wednesday he harbored no loathing but accepted his guilt in the incident.
"I had no hatred in my heart. I don't consider myself a violent person," Frederick Giunta said as he was sentenced Wednesday to 3 1/2 years in prison for the October attack at Julius, where a 1966 "sip-in" helped usher in the gay-rights movement.
"I do have remorse for what I've done," he added.
Giunta, 45, pleaded guilty last month to attempted robbery and hate-crime assault.
He grabbed at a man's wallet and hit him at another bar, sending that man to a hospital, prosecutors said. Then Giunta went to nearby Julius and made anti-gay and racist remarks while punching a bartender there. The victim, whose name authorities did not disclose, is black.
His lawyer, Hershel Katz, said Giunta's conduct at Julius was spurred by drunkenness. But Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said Giunta's sentence "serves as a reminder that there is no tolerance for bias-related violence."
The assault provoked an outcry from gay-rights advocates, who were already alarmed by a number of other anti-gay attacks around the city within the previous two weeks. On a single day about a week earlier, Bronx gang members beat and tortured four people in an anti-gay rage, while two men were accused of a gay-bashing at Manhattan's Stonewall Inn, a gay-rights landmark, authorities said. Patrons' resistance to a 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn became a formative moment in the gay rights movement.
Julius is one of the city's oldest gay bars. The Greenwich Village tavern has attracted a gay clientele since the 1950s, according to its website.
In 1966, several gay-rights activists went there and ordered drinks, with journalists looking on, to protest liquor regulators' policies that discouraged serving gays. The "sip-in" contributed to changes that ultimately allowed gay bars to operate openly.
Giunta, who was a pest-control worker for a time, has been in and out of prison on theft and drug convictions since the early 1990s, state prison records show. He was paroled last year after serving two years of a four-year term on a grand larceny conviction, according to the state Division of Parole.
He may face more prison time for violating parole; officials will calculate how much.
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