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May 19, 2016

Gay-bashing victims file civil lawsuit against Kathryn Knott, co-defendants

Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse seek more than $500,000 in damages

Courts Lawsuits
Gay Bashing Trial Philadelphia Police /for PhillyVoice

Philip Williams, Kevin Harrigan and Kathryn Knott.

The gay couple beaten two years ago in Center City by Kathryn Knott and two other Bucks County residents is suing their attackers for damages.

Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse filed an assault and battery lawsuit Tuesday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams. The couple seeks more than $500,000 from a total of 10 counts against the three defendants.

Haught was knocked unconscious and needed his broken jaw wired shut for several weeks after the trio confronted the couple at 16th and Chancellors streets on Sept. 11, 2014. Hesse sustained minor bruises to his face. The victims previously testified that they also were subjected to a slew of homophobic slurs.

The criminal cases against each of the defendants have concluded.

Harrigan and Williams accepted plea deals that sentenced them to probation and community service at an LGBT center.

Knott opted to face trial and was found guilty of simple assault, conspiracy to commit simple assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. She was sentenced in February to 5-to-10 months in prison, two years of probation and a $2,000 fine.

The allegations listed in the lawsuit reflect the testimony Haught and Hesse gave during Knott's trial in December.

The couple claims Harrigan shouted a homophobic slur toward Hesse before pushing him and striking him in the face. Other members of Harrigan's group then held Hesse as he was struck repeatedly, including by Knott, the lawsuit alleges.

Williams later punched a defenseless Haught multiple times in the face, knocking him unconscious, the lawsuit states. The group fled while Haught lay bleeding and motionless on the ground.

In addition to their physical injuries, the lawsuit claims Haught and Hesse each sustained psychological injury, emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment. Haught also lost wages and incurred the cost of medical expenses.