News Briefing

Change of plea hearing scheduled in detention-center assault

Kevin V. Hannig, an accused assailant of openly gay inmate Kenneth J. Houck Jr., is expected to plead guilty during a court proceeding this week.

Hannig initially pleaded not guilty to causing serious bodily harm to Houck but has decided to change his plea. A hearing was scheduled for yesterday.

Hannig and fellow inmate Justin O’Brien allegedly assaulted Houck at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia in November 2011.

Houck was reading a gay novel inside his cell when the defendants pulled Houck from his bunk and stomped on him, breaking his leg, according to court records.

Earlier this month, O’Brien pleaded guilty to assaulting Houck, and his sentencing is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. May 14 before U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois.

At the time of Houck’s assault, O’Brien was in the detention center after robbing three banks in Northeast Philadelphia. Hannig was in the detention center for an offense stemming from an unrelated bank robbery.

Houck was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of transporting child pornography.

Houck continues to recover from his injuries at the Federal Detention Center in Butner, N.C.

His projected release date is March 3, 2018, if he doesn’t commit any infractions while in custody.

O’Brien and Hannig remain incarcerated at the detention center, pending sentencing.

— Tim Cwiek

William Way hosts women’s reception

The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund and the William Way LGBT Community Center will host a reception for LBTI-identified women and allies from 1-4 p.m. April 21. The reception will be at The Albatross, 254 W. Walnut Lane in Mount Airy.

William Way is gearing up to implement a women’s steering committee and is looking to create initiatives that will engage women in the center’s activities.

Center executive director Chris Bartlett said he hopes the reception will encourage more women in Northwest Philadelphia and the suburbs to be involved at William Way.

Tickets are $25 and include a buffet-style brunch, open wine and beer bar and live music. For more information, visit

BEBASHI launches hunger campaign

HIV/AIDS agency BEBASHI is set to launch its “Feed Philly!” campaign.

During the month of May, supporters can contribute monetary or food donations to the agency’s emergency food cupboard at five different The Fresh Grocer locations: 5301 Chew Ave., 4001 Walnut St., 5406 Chester Ave., 1501 N. Broad St. and 5601 Chestnut St. And for every “like” the initiative gets on Facebook, The Fresh Grocer will donate one nonperishable food item to the program.

For more information, see or email [email protected].

— Angela Thomas