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November 10, 2017

Gay-bashing victims settle civil suit in Center City attack

Courts Lawsuits
Philip Williams, Kevin Harrigan and Kathryn Knott Philadelphia Police/Provided

Philip Williams, Kevin Harrigan and Kathryn Knott.

The beating of a gay couple three years ago in Center City, which resulted in the high-profile trial of defendant Kathryn Knott, settled a civil suit against their attackers this week.

Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse sought more than $500,000 against Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams in an assault and battery lawsuit filed in May 2016. The suit settled for an undisclosed amount on Monday, court documents show.

The case had been headed for a Dec. 4 trial.

Haught and Hesse encountered a group of 15 friends at 16th and Chancellor streets in September 2014. Haught was knocked unconscious and needed a broken jaw wired shut for several weeks, and Hesse sustained minor bruises to his face. The pair later testified in court that they also were subjected to a slew of homophobic slurs.

Only Knott, Harrigan and Williams, who were all from Bucks County, faced charges in the case, which prosecutors dubbed a hate crime.

Harrigan and Williams accepted plea deals and was sentenced to probation and community services at an LBGT center.

Knott opted to stand trial and was convicted of simple assault, conspiracy to commit simple assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. She was sentenced to five to 10 months in prison, two years' probation and a $2,000 fine. She served five months at the Riverside Correctional Facility and was released from prison in June 2016.

Knott and her father, Karl, captain of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and former police chief in Chalfont Borough, as well as a former Bucks County district attorney and two county detectives are named in a federal retaliation suit filed by a Norristown woman. They are accused of conspiring to retaliate against the woman for posting mocking Internet comments about Kathryn Knott.