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"Two sober gothic couples were followed, harassed, and assaulted in Old Town on a Friday night by a drunken Navy SEAL," according to James Howard, president of the San Diego chapter of Goth Help Us. He says the incident that allegedly occurred last September -- the subject of an upcoming trial -- prompted him to form the local chapter of GHU, described on its website as a civic volunteer organization "seek[ing] to change the stereotypes associated to the term Goth and show that there is great diversity and individuality within our subculture."

Howard alleges he was assaulted and called a "gothic faggot" and that two companions were "bruised up for calling 911." Howard claims he was hospitalized and has had "over $25,000 in reconstructive surgery from being assaulted by the trained Navy SEAL and his accomplice.... [I] was lucky to have lived. Mark and Lora Williams were also physically assaulted. And while the assailant...is the only person being charged with a crime, the Goths involved that night have been repeatedly hassled by a private investigator and were made out as criminals during the pretrial."

A trial date is set for July 12. "It's going to be ugly," says Howard.

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