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Man charged with attack on student with cerebral palsy

A Brockton man is facing charges that he kicked, punched, and verbally abused a college student with cerebral palsy on an MBTA Red Line train, Suffolk prosecutors said.

Thomas Kennedy, 62, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday to charges of assault and battery on a disabled person, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and violating the victim’s civil rights, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement.

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The 21-year-old student boarded a crowded Red Line train at the MBTA’s Downtown Crossing Station Tuesday afternoon and took a seat next to Kennedy, prosecutors said. The victim told police Kennedy smelled of alcohol and immediately started making comments about his disability and calling him ethnic and homophobic slurs, prosecutors said.

The victim moved to another seat at Andrew Station, but Kennedy continued to speak to him and started to punch and kick the student, prosecutors said.

The student was able to leave the train at JFK/UMass station and reported the incident to police, prosecutors said.

He was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he described the assailant to MBTA Transit Police detectives. He later identified Kennedy on footage from cameras inside the Downtown Crossing station, prosecutors said.

About 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Transit police arrested Kennedy at Downtown Crossing Station.

South Boston Municipal Court Judge Michael Bolden set bail at $5,000 and ordered Kennedy to remain alcohol free, submit to an alcohol evaluation, undergo any necessary treatment, and to stay away from the MBTA and the victim.

He is scheduled to return to court May 20.

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