Gay-Bashing Victims Sue Attackers for Assault and Battery

We're just surprised that it took so long. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

From left: Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott and Philip Williams.

From left: Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott and Philip Williams.

The victims of the September 2014 gay-bashing assault in Center City are taking their attackers to court.

Earlier this week, Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught filed a civil suit against Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams for their roles in the attack.

Harrigan and Williams both escaped jail time when they pleaded guilty last year to simple assault and conspiracy and aggravated assault and conspiracy, respectively, while Knott was convicted by a jury of simple assault, conspiracy, and two counts of recklessly endangering another person. She is currently serving a sentence of five to ten months at Riverside Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia, imposed in February.

The victims encountered the defendants at the corner of 16th and Chancellor streets on September 11, 2014. According to the lawsuit, Harrigan shouted gay slurs at the victims and called Hesse a “dirty fucking faggot” before punching Hesse in the face. Other members of the group were said to have then restrained Hesse’s arms while he was hit repeatedly, and Knott punched him in the face and called him a “faggot.” Williams is accused hitting Haught in the face multiple times. (The allegations in the lawsuit reflect testimony provided during the criminal proceedings.)

Haught was rendered unconscious and transported to Hahnemann University Hospital where emergency surgery was performed. He stayed in the hospital for five days after the attack. The lawsuit states that Haught suffered a fractured jaw bone and orbital bone, and permanent facial scarring, in addition to other injuries. His jaw was wired shut for eight weeks.

Hesse’s injuries were less severe but still significant. They included cuts and bruising on his face and body. Both men also suffered psychological injury, emotional distress, and embarrassment, according to the suit. The lawsuit states that the attackers had no justification for their actions.

The suit, filed by the prominent Center City law firm Kline & Specter, seeks unspecified damages. Neither the plaintiffs’ attorneys nor the defendants were immediately available for comment.

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