July 17, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Man pleads guilty to threatening activist
Pedro Julio Serrano, NGLTF, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Puerto Rico, San Juan, LGBT equality, adoption, gay news, Washington Blade

A man whom federal authorities accused of threatening to kill Puerto Rican LGBT rights advocate, Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, pleaded guilty to the charges. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A man whom federal authorities accused of threatening to kill Puerto Rican LGBT rights advocate Pedro Julio Serrano pleaded guilty to the charges on July 15.

The newspaper El Nuevo Día reported that Joseph Joel Morales Serrano, 26, pleaded guilty to cyber-bullying and transmitting a message through means of interstate or foreign commerce. He told U.S. District Court Judge José A. Fusté he sent Serrano a tweet on May 6 urging him to “be careful” while attending an LGBT rights march in San Juan that commemorated the annual International Day Against Homophobia or he would “end up like” those who were wounded or killed during the Boston Marathon bombing in April.

Fusté sentenced Morales to time served and three years of supervised release. The judge also ordered him to close his Twitter account for three years.

The newspaper reported Serrano and Morales hugged each other at the end of the hearing.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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