A Suffolk Superior Court judge has ordered that a Somerville man stay away from two teenagers he assaulted because he believed they were an interracial lesbian couple, according to the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.
In November 2010, authorities say Joseph Balistreri approached two women, age 18 and 19, on an Orange Line train near Sullivan Square, and allegedly yelled racist and homophobic epithets, spat on them, threatened their lives, and eventually kicked one of them in the face.
When one woman dialed 911, Balistreri fled from the train. Transit police put out images of the suspect captured from surveillance cameras, which led to Balistreri's identification and arrest Feb. 9, Coakley's office said.
The order, by Superior Court Judge Frank M. Gaziano, prohibits Balistreri from coming within 100 feet of the women or violating their civil rights.
If he is found in violation of the order, Balistreri could be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for 2 1/2 years. If he inflicts bodily injury, the monetary penalty would double to $10,000, with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, Coakley's office said.
“Hate crimes have detrimental effects on the victims and to the safety and well-being of our communities,” said Coakley in a statement. “No one should fear for their safety because of who they are or how they are perceived.”
In the last 18 months, Coakley's office has secured four other similar court orders that stemmed from assaults or threats that occurred on public transit.