A Pittsburgh man and his boyfriend were assaulted early Sunday morning in Lawrenceville. Ben Stoviak was leaving Remedy bar with his partner when a group of men began yelling homophobic slurs at them. When Stoviak responded, the group ran across the street, and began attacking him. Stoviak was knocked to the ground, and repeatedly kicked in the face. A witness saw the group of men leave, and was able to write down their license plate number. Pittsburgh police believe that the men who attacked Stoviak were in Remedy prior to the assault. Three of the participants in the attack have since been arrested.
Stoviak said he believes he and his boyfriend were targeted because they were openly affectionate with each other. He sought medical attention after the attack, and was released from the hospital Sunday morning without serious injuries.
The Allegheny County District Attorney is consulting with the FBI and US Attorney’s office as to whether the incident is a federal hate crime. The most recent hate crime statistics from the FBI in 2011 found that sexual orientation was the second most common motivation behind hate crimes. In Pennsylvania, there are no state laws regarding hate crimes which protect sexual orientation and gender identity.
Update (10/8 5:15 PM ): The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh has reported that one arrest has been made by the Pittsburgh Police in connection with the assault.
From Ben Stoviak’s Facebook: Last night, a group of men attacked me and my boyfriend on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. 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. The mark on my right cheek is a bootprint. Aaron threw himself on top of me to discourage them from continuing the assault, but they began kicking him in the head, as well.
To the women who saw the ordeal, wrote down their license plate number, and stayed to talk with the police, thank you.
Three of these men have been arrested since the assault. Aaron and I were in the hospital until almost 10 am so that the doctors could take MRI, CT scans, and x-rays to make sure there was no internal bleeding.
I don’t ask you to cheer on my romantic and sexual lives. I do, however, expect people not to act violently against one another because they do not share tastes and preferences.