Nearly year after a shocking gay-bashing at New York’s Stonewall Inn, Benjamin Carver’s assailants have pleaded guilty to assault and hate-crime charges and will spend the next two years in prison.Last October, Benjamin Carver and his boyfriend were at the historic Stonewall Inn in the West Village for the first time. While Carver was taking care of business in the bathroom, Matt Francis, 21, and Christopher Orlando, 17, asked him what kind of bar Stonewall was. When Carver told them it was a gay bar (um, duh), Francis replied, “Get away from me, faggot! I don’t like gay people. Don’t pee next to me.” The men demanded cash and when Carver refused, Orlando held him down while Francis punched him several times. The men were arrested but pled not guilty to charges of assault and attempted robbery.
Carver took the high road after the incident, posting on Facebook, “We must be better than these bullies, I forgave these men immediately. What I hope is that these men are given help to understand that all human life is precious and that violence is never acceptable.”
Now, finally, it looks like Francis and Orlando will learn that lesson the hard way.
Today Carver posted, “Just got word from the New York DA’s office: The guys who attacked me at Stonewall pleaded guilty to hate crime and violent assault. Two years in prison.” It’s obscene that assaults like this still happen, but it’s nice to know the system can work.
Our advice to Francis and Orlando? Don’t ask too many questions in the bathrooms at Rikers.