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Judge awards $1.2 million to victim in Biddeford hate crime

A civil court judge has awarded a Biddeford man over one million dollars in damages from his attackers in a racially-motivated assault in 2018.

Maurice Diggins and his nephew Dusty Leo were convicted three years ago of harassing the victim, who is black, outside of a convenience store and using racial slurs. Diggins and Leo then punched the man, breaking his jaw.

Attorney Allyson Knowles, who represented the victim in the civil suit, requested her client remain unnamed as he still fears for his family's safety.

"Because the defendants followed him back to his house after they assaulted him, they knew where he lived. In the weeks and months after — up to and at trial — they were stalking and harassing him," Knowles said. "At the time he had three school aged children, he has family. He had to relocate because he couldn't safely stay there. You know, it's hard to put into words how this has impacted him because I don't think that he'll ever be whole again."

Diggins and Leo are serving their sentences in federal prison.  Leo is set to be released in the coming months.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.


Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.