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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
August 19, 2005

Plea deal lets gay Central State student out of jail

Xenia, Ohio--A plea deal let a gay Central State University student out of jail who had been there for two months after he protested an anti-gay skit on campus.

Yahieness Dixon, 22, of Mansfield, was released from the Greene County Adult Detention Center on August 10 following a plea agreement made with an assistant prosecutor and a visiting judge.

Dixon was one of two gay students arrested June 9 after they turned off the stage lights during a program presented by Central State fraternities and sororities, which contained a skit they found offensive.

Fights broke out involving many other students, none of whom were jailed. The only other student charged with a crime was not arrested.

Dixon pleaded no contest to inciting to violence, a first degree misdemeanor, and was sentenced to time served and $201 court costs. He had been incarcerated since June 9.

The deal was agreed to by assistant prosecutor Craig Sanders and ordered by acting judge John Butz, who were assigned to the case because prosecutor Ronald Lewis and Judge Susan Goldie were vacationing.

Goldie has a reputation for giving students from Central State and neighboring Wilberforce University, both historically black colleges, maximum sentences and high bails.

Goldie had previously set Dixon�s bail at $10,000.

The other gay student jailed, Anthony Cathey, 19, of Chicago, had bail set at $2,500. He was let out of jail after 30 days due to lack of space.

His charges, disturbing a lawful meeting and inciting to violence, are still pending. A trial before Goldie is set for September 1.

Cathey�s attorney, Joseph Coates of Fairborn, could not be reached for comment.

The program�s organizer and president of the university�s Pan-Hellenic Council, Tygene Trammell, 24, who was later charged with assault but never jailed, is no longer facing that charge.

A day before Dixon�s plea deal, his charges were reduced to disorderly conduct by fighting, then dismissed.

Dixon�s attorney, David Morse of Fairborn, who is openly gay, said if Dixon has no subsequent charges and no one objects, his record could be expunged after one year.

Dixon, a junior majoring in communications, plans to return to Central State. Cathey, a sophomore majoring in journalism, does not.

Morse said the incident and word of the gay students� arrest has prompted some community action. These include plans to bring the needs of the LGBT students to the attention of university officials and advocating for the LGBT student group to be given full recognition. It currently has no formal status.

�The gay students need help. They feel isolated there,� said Morse.

Morse said Eternal Joy Metropolitan Community Church of Dayton has invited Dixon and other LGBT students to a dinner to celebrate his release and talk about what can be done to improve campus life for them, and that other LGBT-affirming churches have expressed similar interest.

�I think the university has learned a lesson, too,� said Morse. �I talked to the dean of students and the university�s attorney, and they know this was part of the mix. They know they need to do something.�

Related stories

August 5: University won't say why gay student is still in jail

June 24: Two Central State students are jailed after halting gay skit

 

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