PHILADELPHIA — An assistant coach at a Roman Catholic high school has resigned over his role in a beating that left two gay men injured, church officials in Philadelphia said Thursday.
About a dozen young adults were linked to the Sept. 11 encounter after police released surveillance video Tuesday and social media users mined online posts, including a group photo taken at a restaurant, to try to match the faces with names.
A statement released by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia confirmed earlier reports that many in the group were once classmates at Archbishop Wood High School, located in the Philadelphia suburb of Warminster.
“Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian,” Archbishop Charles Chaput said Thursday in a statement.
The part-time coach, identified by local media as 25-year-old Fran McGlinn, had worked at the same school but now is banned from coaching anywhere in the archdiocese, the church said. Earlier reports indicated McGlinn had been fired.
“A key part of a Catholic education is forming students to respect the dignity of every human person whether we agree with them or not,” Chaput said. “What students do with that formation when they enter the adult world determines their own maturity and dignity, or their lack of it.”
No arrests have been made, but some of the young men and women seen in the video submitted to voluntary interviews with police on Wednesday.
“Investigators are continuing to interview a number of people regarding this incident, folks from the video as well as other civilian witnesses that have come forward,” said Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.
The victims, a gay couple who are in their late 20s, allege that someone in the group confronted one of the men, asking him if his companion was “his fucking boyfriend.”
A fight broke out, during which the men were held down, punched and beaten.
Members of the group hurled gay slurs as the men were pummeled, they told police. One man was left with a broken eye socket and a wired jaw, while his partner had bruises and a black eye.
Police say they are still seeking additional video that could confirm or contradict the couple’s report.
State Rep. Brian Sims, the state’s first openly gay lawmaker and a Democrat from Philadelphia, said the local gay community is outraged over the case.
He hopes it will add to the growing list of cases he can cite in a push to include sexual orientation in the state’s hate crime laws.