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YouTube star pleads guilty to vandalism after alleging he was beaten for being gay

Calum McSwiggan, 26, is shown in a booking photo before, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials say, he injured himself in his jail cell.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

YouTube star Calum McSwiggan, who claimed to have been brutally assaulted by three men in West Hollywood as part of an anti-gay hate crime, has pleaded guilty to vandalizing a car.

McSwiggan, 26, entered the guilty plea Monday to one felony count of vandalism causing more than $400 in damage. He received a sentence of three years’ felony probation, 52 sessions of anger-management counseling, and was ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution.

McSwiggan, known by thousands of fans for his YouTube channel about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, was accused of damaging a car mirror and bumper on Santa Monica Boulevard near Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood on June 27.

McSwiggan, 26, had contended he was beaten by the vehicle’s driver and two other men during the incident. But prosecutors allege that he lied about the purported attack to sheriff’s deputies.

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McSwiggan, a resident of London who was visiting Southern California, was originally charged with vandalism and filing a false police report and could have received up to three years and six months in jail. Prosecutors dropped the false police report charge as part of a plea agreement.

The saga played out in dramatic fashion on McSwiggan’s social media accounts.

McSwiggan wrote in an Instagram post that after visiting a gay club this summer in West Hollywood, three men attacked him, injuring his forehead and breaking three of his teeth. He faulted “authorities” for not protecting him and for treating him like a “second-class citizen.”

“I’ve never felt so terrified to be a gay man in the public eye,” he wrote in one post, which showed him in a hospital.

But McSwiggan’s allegations prompted a swift response from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which took the rare step of issuing a public statement and releasing his booking photo to counter his claims.

The Sheriff’s Department confirmed that deputies responded to a reported assault but that investigators “were unable to substantiate the assault,” according to a statement.

McSwiggan was arrested on suspicion of vandalizing the men’s vehicle, authorities said.

Before being placed in his jail cell, McSwiggan took a booking photo, which appears to show no obvious injuries.

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Sheriff’s officials said McSwiggan was then seen “injuring himself” with a payphone inside his jail cell. He was later taken to a hospital for treatment.

After being released from custody, he recounted, in a Facebook post, being punched and kicked, but also acknowledged damaging a car.

richard.winton@latimes.com

Follow @lacrimes on Twitter.

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