Couple Attacked Simply For Showing Affection Outside Gay Bar Near Pittsburgh

lawrenceville-hate-crimeBen Stoviak and his boyfriend Aaron were leaving the Blue Moon Bar in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh in the early morning when three men began yelling derogatory comments at them before senselessly attacking them.

“It’s just totally unreasonable, it’s terrifying,”  Stoviak told KDKA-TV. “We’re not ashamed of ourselves — and that’s when they ran after us and one of them threw a punch at me, got me on the ground and they started kicking, punching, weren’t stopping, stomping — I have a boot mark on my face.” When Aaron threw himself over Ben to protect him, Stoviak said they just “started kicking him as well.”

A Pittsburgh woman along with her girlfriend and three male friends witnessed the attack and attempted to break it up, initially thinking it was a fight. But when they saw the three men standing over Ben and Aaron, “and this boy’s foot hitting this other boy’s face, stomping on his face,” she realized they were being jumped and called the cops.

The suspects, three white men, fled in a black Hyundai but witnesses were able to provide police with a license plate. So far, one of the suspects has been identified — he has been charged with simple assault and will receive a summons in the mail. Meanwhile, a local LGBT rights group has contacted the FBI and the District Attorney’s office in hopes of classifying the attack as a hate crime.

In Stoviak’s mind, there’s no question that it was a hate crime. He believes the men attacked him and his boyfriend simply because they were showing each other affection: “Whether they knew that I was gay, or we were gay or just perceived us to be gay, the reason for the attack was for our perceived sexuality. And for no other reason.”

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  • loua61

    First of all, what is up with all the hate crimes lately. How many does this make this year, it’s like we’re going back in time? Second, a simple assault with a summons in the mail. You have got to be kidding me. I am outraged.

  • defsteve

    They weren’t jumped “simply for showing affection.” They were jumped cuz they’re gay. Your headline makes it sound as though if they just hadn’t been holding hands they wouldn’t have been attacked. Becomes perilously close to victim blaming.

  • HirsuteOne

    At least they fought back. Good for them for not going gentle into that good night.

  • Nyruinz


    Exactly, I be damned if anyone puts their hands on me! Try it and you will definitely think twice before doing it to anyone else when I finish with you. This is ridiculous, gay, black, white or straight nobody deserves to be attacked.

  • erikwm

    A summons in the mail!? Someone commits a violent crime and all they get is a summons in the mail!?


    Arrest them.

  • HirsuteOne

    @Nyruinz: I’m right there with you buddy. I may like a c*ck in my mouth, but that doesn’t mean I’m a pushover! Fight back dirty and give these bashers and haters something to think about when they are nursing their lacerated testicle that was bitten off.

  • bigblackhose

    @HirsuteOne: HirsuteOne & Nyruinz, we should be a team. I promise you – if me or anyone AROUND me is “attacked” when leaving a bar because we’re “showing affection. The ones asking the media for help will be the families of the assailants that made the mistake of going after a perceived, “easy target”. Bring it on fellas – may the best man win. Either way – I PROMISE you’ll think TWICE before you make that move again. The BASHINGS are cowardly and the MUST stop. Find these [email protected]@holes.

  • bigblackhose

    @bigblackhose: …allow me to correct my grammar and punctuation – for fear that the message me misconstrued. HirsuteOne & Nyruinz, we should be a team. I promise you – if I or anyone AROUND me is “attacked” when leaving a bar because we’re “showing affection, the ones asking the media for help will be the families of the assailants that made the mistake of going after a perceived, “easy target”. Bring it on fellas – may the best man/men win. Either way – I PROMISE, you’ll think TWICE before you make that move again. The BASHINGS are cowardly and they MUST stop! Find these [email protected]@holes. (word to the wise – don’t respond using a smartphone. typos happen).

    Full story here: http://www.queerty.com/gay-couple-attack-near-pittsburgh-20131009/#ixzz2hFA930r0

  • HirsuteOne

    @N and @B

    I’ve actually been in that situation! Years ago several of us were leaving a MCC church downtown here in our Southern city when three rednecks across the street started shouting slurs. I barked back bigger and badder and with more cussing and stood my ground and they backed down. The rest of the 3 guys with me stood there frozen and silent. Afterward, they were amazed and asked how I could have done that. Well, I’m a Yankee and I thought it was instinct. Of course, it could have turned out differently but I’m not going out without a fight!

  • 2eo

    Never been in a fight, being attacked a few times, funnily enough the latest person to attack me wound up losing his house, car and his marriage fell apart and resulted in him being blackballed from the industry.

    I don’t know how any of that happened though.

  • Aaron


    I don’t think we’re going “back in time.” I just feel the gay community is becoming more proactive about reporting hate crimes. I feel that in today’s social climate and public awareness of gay issues, these hate crimes now have potential to make headlines. The worst that could happen is for a hate crime to happen and not have it reported.

  • Daniel-Reader

    They should remember to also sue their attackers in civil court, so their attackers spend the rest of their lives having to pay off damages for the attack.

  • Dxley

    @2eo: I don’t blame him. He should have blown your fucking brains out. Nothing personal – do you have the guy’s number? Forget his marital issues and whatever. I wanna personally thank him for solving you :). I don’t know him but I already love him. He should come to me, I’ll feed him, give him a roof and everything he needs. I just love him :). This is just too satisfying – Nothing personal!!!

  • 2eo

    @Dxley: I have no idea where he is, but he’s a violent, worthless cretin so you’d get on really well with your similar life goals.

    I got a black eye, he lost over £150,000 and his wife and child for fucking with me, the degree he worked for is worthless as I saw to it he was blackballed from my industry. I’ll take that on the chin so to speak.

  • litper

    It’s so sad. The guy is very cute. Those dumb hetero assholes…

  • xamthor

    according to Ben’s Facebook post: “After yelling, from across the street, “Faggot!” at us, I replied, “yes, we’re faggots!” Immediately after, the group of men ran across the street and began hitting, kicking, and stomping me. ”

    “We vehemently deny that this is a hate crime,” said Charles Gallo, the attorney representing Mr. Happ. “This has nothing to do with anyone being gay.”


  • Dxley

    @2eo: I honestly don’t give a fuck what his life dramas are, and it doesn’t affect me in any way but I love the fact that he kicked your stupid ass. I bet you’re a weak ass fem boy Lmgao

  • stranded

    Good observation, i agree with you.

  • stranded


    We’ve fooled ourselves to think we’ve gotten over or surpassed hate, when in reality, it just falls out of fashion so we don’t hear about it, but it still goes on. It all has to do with how much exposure something gets. So right now, homophobic attacks and racism are big issues. They’ll die off again. Give people this idea that we’ve moved beyond it, then unfortunately a Matthew Shepard type case will spring up in the headlines.

  • Teleny

    I used to go to Pegasus (closed now) in Pittsburgh and the str8 a holes know where the gay bars in and eould ride by yelling stuff. When in town I go to the Blue Zmoon: a great little mixed lbgt bar. Saw Sharon Needled there before the big time. But Pittsburgh is not safe or gay friendly.

  • Steve

    Ben Stoviak is a liar and a sad, sad boy. He was yelling threats to the “group of attackers” for at least 10 minutes before any violence took place. He thought he heard a homophobic slur, and in the next ten minutes, repeatedly threatened them saying, “If I hear the word (slur) again, I’m going to kick someone’s ass.” Ben was told repeatedly that whatever was said was not directed towards him, but he didn’t seem to care. He wanted to fight whoever had said the word, it didn’t matter the context. This is why I have to speak up about this. When he tried to ignore the fact that he started the conflict and instead turn it into some hate crime, I feel he is doing the community of Lawrenceville wrong. Because of his twisted story which contradicts itself in various news articles and I know to be fake, good people are afraid to walk down the street holding hands. Because of him, there is a fear of violent intolerance in this great area of Pittsburgh that just does not exist. Because of a small character and a big lie, the good people of Lawrenceville who are out there doing what they can to improve the community such as Diedra and Dora who are opening the 52nd Street Market next month are set back a matter of years because people are worried about violent hate crimes where none exist. This troublemaking child should be held accountable for his lies, and if anyone doubts me, please go ahead and ask Ben’s boyfriend how the night happened. I don’t think he has it in him to lie through his teeth like Ben Stoviak is doing to all of the good people who stood up to support him. It’s time you knew the truth about that night, and be at ease knowing Lawrenceville’s reputation of tolerance and good will is still a reality, in spite of the selfish agenda of a person who is willing to strike fear into the hearts of his colleagues for a little sympathy and publicity.

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