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Marines accused of assaulting man outside gay bar in Long Beach

Four U.S. Marines face possible assault and hate crime charges in connection with the Labor Day weekend beating of a man outside a gay bar in Long Beach, authorities said Wednesday.

Lance Cpl. Lewis Serna, Lance Cpl. John O'Leary, Pfc. Thomas Pentek and Pfc. Sean Miller were arrested Monday morning in connection with the beating of a film student from San Dimas.

The attack was preceded by anti-gay slurs and took place around 1:30 a.m. at the Silver Fox Bar near the intersection of 4th Street and Redondo Avenue, according to authorities. 

Long Beach police, who are expected to present the case to prosecutors this week, are still gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses to try to determine how the incident unfolded, said Sgt. Aaron Eaton.

The Marine Corps is cooperating with local law enforcement in the investigation, military spokesman Maj. Manuel Delarosa said. The Corps would be conducting its own review, he said, "to ensure we have a full understanding of this incident."

"This is behavior that's not acceptable in the Marine Corps," Delarosa said. "Any crimes of intolerance are unacceptable."

The four Camp Pendleton-based Marines are currently free on bail and have returned to their units. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Ben Vargas of the Long Beach Police Department's Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Follow Andrew Blankstein on Twitter and Google+

 
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