Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trans woman says she was attacked by UM student

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM

On Saturday April 28, University of Montana student Anita Green danced with a well-dressed man at the Elk’s Club. After they danced, the man, identified by the Missoula Police Department as Obioha Onwubiko, a 21-year-old UM student, led Green outside. “He wanted to take me away from the club. But I said no. I felt uncomfortable with that,” says Green, 21, of Billings.

According to Green, Onwubiko tried to put his hands down her pants. She said, “no” and swiped him away. Onwubiko was rough when they kissed, she says. Green got scared and tried to walk away. “He...grabbed my shirt...I was terrified.”

Then Onwubiko grabbed her crotch, she says. She believes that’s when he discovered that she’s is a pre-operative transgender woman, born a biological male but living as a woman. Green says Onwubiko seemed infuriated. She again tried to get away. “He then punched me in the right eye.”

Photo courtesy of Anita Green
  • Photo courtesy of Anita Green

Although the alleged incidents occurred nearly five months ago, they only recently came to the Independent’s attention.

As a result of her allegations, Onwubiko faces misdemeanor sexual assault and assault charges, punishable by a maximum of 1 year in custody and a $1,000 fine. Onwubiko is pleading not guilty.

Onwubiko’s Missoula attorney, Craig Shannon, says that Green’s story is a “fabrication.” He adds that his client was provoked and acted in self defense.

“She was a man, that was confusing for Obi,” Shannon says. “It would be confusing for me, too.”

On April 30, campus police charged Onwubiko with a third misdemeanor. According to Missoula prosecutor Carrie Garber, Onwubiko allegedly threatened another UM student and caused “fear of injury.”

Shannon says the third charge stemmed from Onwubiko’s attempts to figure out “who was playing the prank on him Saturday night...He’s from Nigeria. English is not his mother language. He was confused.”

The case is slated for an October 26 trial in Missoula Municipal Court. Onwubiko is “very interested in having his day in court,” Shannon says.

Green says she agreed to discuss the alleged attack in the hope that it will raise awareness about violence against LGBT people. “People in the queer community are attacked every day,” she says. “They deserve to have their voice heard.”

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