Civil suit against gay bashers settled

The victims of a high-profile 2014 gay-bashing incident this week settled their civil suit against the three defendants.

Zachary Hesse and Andrew Caught filed the suit against Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams in May 2016, seeking more than $500,000 in damages. Judge Denis Cohen signed off on the settlement Nov. 6, about a month before the case was set to go to trial.

Details of the settlement were not immediately available. An attorney for the plaintiffs declined to comment.

The three defendants were involved in a September 2014 attack on Hesse and Haught at 16th and Chancellor streets that left the couple badly injured. Harrigan and Williams took plea deals that allowed them to avoid potential jail time but Knott took her case to trial and was convicted of four misdemeanor charges. She ultimately served five months in prison.

“The charges in the criminal trial were about the punishment of the defendants’ actions under the criminal,” Andrew Youman, attorney for the couple, told PGN last year. “The D.A. brought those charges. The civil system is about compensation, and that’s what this case is about: compensation for everything they have been through as a result of the conduct of the defendants.”

The counts against Harrigan were assault and battery regarding Hesse and assault regarding Haught. Knott faced a charge of assault and battery for her interaction with Hesse and assault for Haught. The suit charged Williams with assault and battery for Haught and assault for Hesse. All three faced a count of negligent infliction of emotional stress for each victim, and restatement of tortes for each victim.

The suit reiterated details of the incident Haught and Hesse relayed on the stand during Knott’s trial in December 2015. The couple said they were walking in Center City when they encountered the trio and a group of their friends. They said Harrigan called Hesse a “dirty fucking faggot” and, “without provocation, justification or any cause whatsoever,” shoved Harrigan and struck Hesse.

The plaintiffs contended Knott struck Hesse in the face and called him a “faggot,” and Williams struck Haught “multiple times in the face with a closed fist.” Haught suffered multiple facial fractures.

In court filings this year, all three defendants contended they acted in self-defense and implicated one another.