Was priest’s beating a hate crime?

November 12th, 2009 by

Update: Jasen Bruce will be in the Studio this morning to tell his side of the story!

TAMPA (myfoxtampabay.com) - The attack on a Greek Orthodox priest in Tampa is continuing to generate strong reaction across the Bay Area. Now there are calls to charge a Marine reservist with a hate crime.

Police say reservist Jasen Bruce has changed his story. On a 911 tape and to arriving officers, Bruce allegedly insisted that visiting priest Alexious Marakis was a terrorist, but then Bruce claimed the priest groped him sexually.

“This bearded individual in long robes and sandals says something to him in a language he doesn’t understand, and the next thing you know, he’s grabbing his genitals,” offered Jeffrey Brown, Bruce’s attorney.

Ahmed Bedier of the Tampa Human Rights Council says he asked the priest about that.

“He expressed to me that’s outrageous, that’s a flat-out lie, and that’s not what happened,” Bedier stated.

Police say the six-foot, 220-pound Bruce chased and hit the priest, who doesn’t speak English, several times with a tire iron after the priest asked Bruce for directions.

Bruce, 28, has done fitness modeling on an All American Guys.com, a Tampa-based website. The photographer told FOX 13 such an attack is just not in Bruce’s character.

“There are two sides to every story. I don’t think that he would have done something on the spur of the moment with hate and malicious intentions. I think that we’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out,” Michael Downs said.

But Bedier says police ought to upgrade the charges to a hate crime.

“This fits the classic definition of a hate crime. The suspect attacked the victim on the perception he was Arab or Muslim and made references to that in the 911 call and when police arrived, describing him as an Arab terrorist,” Bedier continued.

FOX 13 tried repeatedly to reach Marakis through his church, as well as a lawyer who has been assisting him. However, there may be some cultural issues in play since we’re told it is against Greek law to comment publicly about pending legal matters.

Meanwhile, Father Marakis conducted a funeral at a church in Tarpon Springs, as if, parishioners said, nothing had happened.

“Any other person wouldn’t have come back to work, but seeing he conducted a funeral, that was really nice of him after what happened,” Jonathan Hamilton observed.

The State Attorney’s Office was closed for the Veteran’s Day holiday, so no one there was available to comment on any potential hate crime charges.

39 Responses

  1. Christine

    My husband and I have known Jasen and his wife for years and there is NO WAY this went down the way the media has been portraying. Jasen is a kind, disiplined, intelligent person and I hope the truth about this incident comes out and the media makes a very public apology to him. They should be ashamed for dragging his name through the mud for the sake of a story.

  2. chris

    This guy is a juiced up moron. I am visiting the Tampa area with my family. Should i be worried because my Grandmother does not speak very good english. This guy is scrambling for an excuse for his actions and should be locked away.

  3. Marc

    Yeah, there is no way this went down as described!

    First the priest grabbed poor little Jasen by his genitalia, the started to tongue Jasen’s ear. The priest then slowly moved down and started to nibble Jasen neck. Jasen just couldn’t take it anymore…with his heart pounding and his tight jeans getting tighter by the second, he reached for the tire iron and slowly starting stroking it like a long lost friend.

    Then he beat the frack out of the large 6’8″ tall muscle bound priest…in fear for his life Jasen then ran three blocks while frantically dialing 911 to tell the police that he was being chased by a sex crazed priest!

    Yeah Jasen, you are full of $hit!

  4. J

    hahaha…If I was there…I would have tagged team Bruce..and would have beat that Taliban looking dude. I don’t care if he tells me he is Jesus… I will beat the Jesus out of him. Then I ask him why the Lord didn’t save his sorry @$$. In time of War, last thing you want to look is like the enemy.

    I think Marakis or who ever name is… he was staking him. I bet you if the police investigate his computer he will have pictures of Bruce. Who knows…you never know…maybe he was a fan. You know the Church is full of Homos.

  5. Irene

    Jasen is a sorry excuse for a man, let alone a Marine. I have several family members who are Marines who would know as such, how to take down an unarmed assailant without the need for a weapon, especially when the assailant is so much smaller than you! The very fact that he couldn’t stick to one story is suspect. The guy is by his own words a racist and should be charged with a Hate Crime. Shame on him for blighting the Marine Corps with his cowardly attack on an unarmed man.

  6. tony smith

    Christine: The man attacked a tow-truck driver a few years ago. He was arrested and pleaded no contest. Sorry, your friend is a bully. Deal with it.

  7. George

    Christine you must be crazy. Jasen is a sick individual who needs help. Stay as far away from him as possible. Trust me, he is going to spend some serious time in jail for what he has done to an innocent man.

  8. DeltaWashD.C.

    This kid is part of organized crime and has been an informant for TPD for few years, dig it up! This is not the only one time violent crime he’s done, but has paralyzed a marine at Prana nightclub years ago bouncing picking him up and dropping him on his head intentionally out of rage.He’s also assaulted a truck driver and threatened him. He also works at APS pharmacy and does deals on the side with the pharmacist. His wife as well has been part of his wrong doings and knows everything he does, guilty by association. Here is a URL on Jasen Bruce admitting to taking anabolic steroids and justifying that they are “safe” meanwhile he is not a medical Dr. and it’s illegal to make these claims, as well if you look at all his posts under his screen name , he threatens individuals as well inviting them to come to FL on his expense so he can assault them! http://forums.steroid.com/showthread.php?t=165311&highlight=anabolicbruce

  9. Alan E.

    Can you please make this available for everyone to listen? I would love to hear what Jasen has to say so I can get an idea of both sides of the story, as I’m sure many other people who wait for all of the facts before judging

  10. Ben

    I believe Jason Bruce.

  11. craig in florida

    if you grab somebodys jimmy you deserve a modern day beat down bubba army style.

  12. Gus

    Enjoy the website below and please tell me how this sorry excuse for a Marine felt threatened by a 5′ 7″ priest wearing his garments. This is a story of a coward who finally got caught being the roided bully that he has always has been. The shame of it is that it took someone else ending up in the hospital for him to get locked up. I wonder how many other people that we don’t know about ended up in the hospital because of Saint Jasen. Nice website tough guy! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size. In the meantime, be a man for the only time in your life and admit you did something wrong.


  13. Paul

    I think that this is one of the worst railroad jobs that I have ever heard of. I don’t Mr. Bruce or Father Marakis.
    I have a strong feeling that when the witness statements are made public, when the security camera tapes are released, When the 911 call is released, that alot of these media types that are sensationalizing the story toward one side will have alot of apologies to say and hopefully a check with alot of zeros on it to write.
    Talk to the officers that commended Mr. Bruce for doing a community service and then had him assist in searching Father Marakis’s car. How many times have you ever heard an enraged man commiting a hate crime while talking to 911 that he called asking for assistance from a homeless person that sexually assaulted him. Now Father Marakis wants it all to go away and the supposed criminal is wanting the facts to come out. Shouldn’t that be the other way around. You ask why Mr. Bruce hasn’t made a statement before now? Why should he, when the very media that is trashing him and only telling half the story in a misleading manner. Anything that he would say would be edited to death and made to say whatever channel 28 wants it to say.
    One last thought … If none of this stuff matters to you and you still believe Mr. Bruce is a criminal, then ask yourself how a person got into a private parking garage that requires a key and gate card to enter. He went through all of that to get in there to “ask directions” when there is a convenience store across the street.
    Makes you think

  14. Elefthria Mougros

    Jasen is FULL OF SHIT!!!! There is absolutely NO WAY this priest monk made any sort of sexual advances to this dip shit!!!! I know the priest and he is the most gentle, humble, and kind hearted person that i know! This man became a monk in Greece at an early age and has devoted his life to god.To even make up a story like this of sexual advances concerning this man of the cloth will send Jasen straight to hell!!!! That’s where he belongs anyways!!!! He is probably some psycho steroid taking asshole that thinks he’s a bad ass because he beat up a priest, only now he’s scared shitless and is making up some BULLSHIT story about being sexually assulted!!!! What goes around comes around and Jason YOU WILL GET YOURS!!!! Shame on you!!! You are a disgusting person that lies and i hope you ROT IN HELL! Actually, I KNOW YOU WILL ROT IN HELL!!!!

  15. Joan

    Too many stories too quickly. First he was grabbed, then he thought he was going to be robbed then he heard Allah Akbar (oops, wrong ethnic/religion). I think Mr. Bruce realized he just struck someone he shouldn’t have and tried to come up with some story really quick. I am sure he scared the *&%$ out this monk. You will do anything to protect your livelihood which I guarantee you is in jeopardy and should be. As for the Monk: Anyone that has had an opportunity to visit a Monastery in Europe where a Monk may live would know there is no question as to whether or not he would press charges. He wouldn’t, period. His life is simple and not lavish.
    I heard Mr. Bruce’s interview today on the radio. You guys were saying “If I was right on an issue I would fight it (in court) as you dismissed the Monks decision not to press charges as if it were a smoking gun. Well, in the same conversation Bruce plead no contest for an issue with a tow truck driver even though he “did nothing wrong” and that was ok. Why didn’t he fight that one?
    I am very familiar with the area in which this occurred. I damn sure would not get out of my car anywhere around there alone. Maybe that’s why you have (how did you put it) an iron gate and key card to get into your lot. In fact, it does look that shady in the area.
    Mr. Bruce, you made an error and it would have been much better to say, Oh &^%$ , I made a mistake.
    Regardless of what occurs, Mr. Bruce will one day regret these actions.

  16. Jojo

    Yeah, what a great guy. I suppose he didn’t beat up the tow truck driver either? He is a liar that has already changed his story 5 times. Tough guy, needed a tire iron to beat up a 5’6″ man. ANd the police always let a “victim” search the belongings of a suspect, something the police have already denied. He taught them a new bomb disposal technique as well- shake the breifcase and put your ear to it..lol.

    What an idiot, hope he rots in prison.

  17. Christine K.

    Let me tell you something Christine. If he is so kind, dicsiplined and intelligent. Why did he beat the man so badly. The priest was running away from him and he was still hitting him. The priest had no gun or any kind of weapon. Why couldn’t he just pin him down and call the police, he didn’t have to beat the guy. Try answer that question for me.

  18. Joan

    Similar to your story Mr. Bruce, as you continue to refresh the page and keep voting on your behalf is pretty amusing. I have sat here and watched the numbers move aggressivly. Bubba..fix that so you can only vote once, otherwise who cares, this poll is just as fabricated as his story. Seems fitting.

  19. jojo

    I guess you only keep comments that defend this scumbag liar.

  20. chuck

    that priest is lucky he grabbed the junk of such a nice guy…lol I would have beat the homo to a pulp right where he stood, and Im no where near as rugged as Jasen. Props to Bubba for letting this MAN OF HONOR tell his side of the story without any media twist bull shiz! BUBBA ARMY BUBBA ARMY……

  21. Carlos

    Just watched the interview on channel 10′s website. Seems very vague, I know they are limited in how long they can do a story but I think as important an issue as this is they should have given him more time and told more of the story. I hope he prevails in thie mess !!

  22. Jojo

    Well since my comments keep getting deleted, this one probably will too.

    But if it didn’t go down the way the media said it did, which way did it go down?

    Was the Priest robbing him shouting “Allah akbar” as he told police over the phone, and in which they verified?

    Did the Priest approach him in an “unknown language” and grabbed his genitals as his lawyer stated in the press conference, with Mr. Bruce standing right next to him?

    Or was it what he said this last time that the Priest approached him saying “I want to f- you”, and then grabbed his genitals?

    After which he “helped” the police search the Priests car, shook a suitcase and put his ear to it, and knew it wasn’t a bomb, and then opened it. And this was also denied by the police.

    So who’s lying? A roided up person who has a past of attacking innocent people? Or a Priest who has never hurt anyone or anything, and the Tampa police dept.?

  23. Jojo

    Ok, now all my comments are showing.. weird.

  24. Wow, Christine...

    Oh, Christine, congratulations on your recent lobotomy. I know, thinking iz hard. Christine: you are truly lacking any intelligence or common sense. Period. Go look at his pictures on madabouttheboys. You can see a few more on allamericanguys

    There is no way you can even glance at these pictures and not see the truth: he is gay. He is a racist, violent, ignorant, gay-hating gay, morever. He looks truly dimwitted, too. Meanwhile, YOU (and his wife, as well) should be ashamed of being an idiot. What are you, BLIND? You apparently know how to use a computer. Look at those sites and shut your mouth.

    Oh, and, p.s.: if he’s so kind and disciplined, why was he convicted of beating ANOTHER man a couple of years back? Or did you not know about that? Check it out–there’s a little thing called Google, CHRISTINE.

  25. thomas182

    jason is lying with 10 different stories any idiot can tell

  26. Ron

    I think this guy acted well within his rights. they should send this piece of shiz with a z back home. Odoesf course he doesn’t want to talk, and wants to drop the charges. I hope the Tampa police will realize what kind of person this preist really is. I thank Jason and his brother for you service to our country.

  27. Ron

    I think this guy acted well within his rights. they should send this piece of shiz with a z back home. course he doesn’t want to talk, and wants to drop the charges. I hope the Tampa police will realize what kind of person this preist really is. I thank Jason and his brother for you service to our country.

  28. confused

    So let me get this straight…Jason lied and told the police that a Greek man who speaks GREEK, and is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church and is not Muslim, was shouting Muslim references to him in Arabic…and we’re supposed to believe JASEN is the victim? He outright lied to the police, changed his story multiple times, while the priest’s version of events has been consistent, and you still don’t realize your buddy is a certifiable psychotic? He screwed up and a little bit of his hate slipped out and hopefully he gets exactly what’s coming to him.

  29. A.J.

    I am a semi-regular listener to the show and happened to catch this segment today and felt sympathy and outrage. My sophmore year of college a friend and I were provoked into a fight with two other guys who happened to be Asian. Because we happened to be white male football players we were stereotyped as “meatheads”. Flyers around campus and articles in the school paper labeled the incident as a “hate-crime” and my friend and I were subsequently suspended for a semester when in reality all we did was stick up for a group of people who were being harassed by these two and assailants. Yeah we whooped their ass, but they asked for it and the fact that they were Asian had nothing to do with the incident.
    I hope justice and the truth previals for Jase

  30. matt gordon md

    Jasen Bruce is a real piece of work. Takes a real confident hustler/con-artist type to think that people would be so dumb as to believe that a stranger would just approach the over 6 ft muscular guy and grope him unexpectedly. Also, Bruce posing for the gay-owned and oriented All American Guys website is indicative of his mindset towards gays. Specifically, he likes to be paid to be admired by gay men, but then uses the gay panic defense falsely. Indeed, the potentially closet-case Bruce is one who should be ashamed.

  31. thomas182

    He sure has Bubba duped but anyone with any sense can tell he is laying and a moron. And he is not an actice Marine but a want to be reservist !!!!

  32. KappaKappa

    This kid might not be gay, but he has done gay for pay stuff and he is bisexual. There is a video of him working out outdoors at some guys mansion, and than one man proceeds to jerk him off while he is working out. It’s nothing sexual such as anal sex, or jasen performing, but Jasen is getting jerked off by an older man while he is wearing boy shorts outdoors by a pool with fitness equipment. He also was on the cover of TUG magazine which is a gay mens magazine, the title says enough, so you know what it’s about!

  33. Pops

    Jasen is a NUT JOB. What an embarrassment to our country and his uniform. This priest from another country will really have great things to say about America now. Nonetheless, I do not believe in the concept of “hate crimes”.

  34. Donny

    Am I really supposed to believe that a 5’6″ priest who doesn’t speak English just went up to a 6’3″ military looking guy and either tried to rob him or sexually assault him???? Are you serious? Why doesn’t Jasen just admit that he freaked out because of the way the priest looked and decided to “shoot first and ask questions later”???

  35. thomas182

    A United Ststes Marine needs a tire iron to defend himself against a priest half his size? Tell me another one loser. My brother was killed defending his country in Beriut a true Marine. Not some Pussy like you. So many roids you dont have any balls coward.


    Regarding Christine’s comment, I am shocked that this idiot HAS any friends. Kind, disciplined…and INTELLIGENT? Are you kidding me? Don’t you mean selfish, out of control and DIMWITTED? You are delusional. He’s 6’3″ and over 200 lbs., and the priest was 5’6″…and he was in fear for his life? His story (or STORIES) are full of holes and he’s full of crap. He will say anything and talk to anyone to get someone to believe him. Pathetic. I don’t know about the gay accusations, but I do believe he has anger management issues. He needs serious therapy.

  37. Lucky Archer

    He deserved it. On 9/11/01 the Archbishop of Athens said we deserved it. As a Greek American I know what an anti-American anti-Semite he is if he doesn’t bathe, shave and wear pants unlike the priests of my youth under Iakovos. If he doesn’t speak English, he came here to spread poison. You can imagine what unnatural islamosoviet actions take place under his filthy gutter-swabbing cassock.

  38. Marly

    Dr.Brian Wolstein is responsible for allowing a 28 year old Bruce to indulge in steroid use! Bruce is a victim of the side effect of “roid rage”!!

  39. Marly

    Bruce is the victim of Dr. Brian Wolstein of Infinite Vitality allowing hormones to be prescribed to a 28 year old man. Bruce is a victim of roid rage!!!

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