A 23-year-old father who used a campaign sign opposing same-sex marriage to attack a gay man on a Torrance street was ordered Monday to take lessons on managing anger and intolerance.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, Joseph Storm pleaded no contest on March 3 to one hate crime allegation.
In exchange for his plea, Storm was ordered by Torrance Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen to attend classes at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and six months of anger management counseling.
Storm also received seven days in jail for the time he already served after the Oct. 26 attack around 2a.m. in the 2000 block of 230th Street.
He will remain on probation for three years and perform more than 100 hours of community service.
According to Deputy District Attorney Tim Hu, Storm must also write an essay by Sept. 16 explaining what he's learned from his classes and counseling. Failure to do so could result in a probation violation, Hu added.
Jay Glaser, Storm's attorney, called the
"I think, clearly, the anger issues needed to be addressed," Glaser said.
Glaser added that Storm will have to pay $300 for the classes, which he hopes will give his client "the tools and skills to deal with his anger" and give him "an attitude adjustment."
The attack came at the height of the pre-election fervor surrounding Proposition 8. Ultimately passed by California voters in November and now the subject of a state Supreme Court case, the constitutional amendment bans marriage for same-sex couples.
The victim, who was 22 at the time, said he was wearing a "No on Prop. 8" button when he walked by a "Yes on Prop. 8" yard sign and held up his middle finger to it.
Storm, who went to high school with the victim but did not associate with him, went on the attack with the sign and his fists and used a derogatory name for homosexuals.
Storm told police they fought when he accused the victim of littering after the victim had pulled the sign out of the lawn. However, the victim denied doing so.
Police arrested Storm the day after the attack on an outstanding warrant for misdemeanor vandalism. Records showed that at the time he was on probation for a 2005 conviction for driving without a license.