These seven women and eight men are suspected by police of participating in a hate crime assault on a gay couple on Thursday night in Rittenhouse. Twitter users have reportedly identified potential suspects in the case. Credit: PPD
An Archbishop Wood Catholic High School assistant basketball coach resigned from his position due to his alleged involvement in the assault on a gay couple in Rittenhouse last week, which Philadelphia police have called a "hate crime."
Fran McGlinn resigned on Wednesday after school officials confronted him about the situation, according to Archdiocese of Philadelphia director of communications Ken Gavin.
McGlinn has been interviewed by detectives in connection with the attack, ABC reported. No charges have officially been filed in the case, which left two men, a gay couple, in need of medical attention, with one requiring surgery to have his jaw wired shut.
Archbishop Charles Chaput released a statement today responding to rumors that some of the group of 15 suspects identified in surveillance footage by police were former students of Archbishop Wood.
"A recent beating incident in Center City allegedly involved, in some way, a part-time coach at Archbishop Wood High School. After inquiries by school leadership, the coach was contacted regarding the matter and he resigned. Archbishop Wood’s handling of the matter was appropriate, and I support their efforts to ensure that Catholic convictions guide the behavior of their whole school community, including their staff," Chaput said in the statement.
"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. What students do with that formation when they enter the adult world determines their own maturity and dignity, or their lack of it. Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian," he continued.
A statement released by Gavin on Wednesday said Archbishop Wood "administrators communicated with the entire Archbishop Wood school community to make it emphatically clear that the school does not, under any circumstances, tolerate or condone the violent and hateful behavior displayed by those who took part in this senseless attack. Administration also stressed that Catholic schools are centers of learning where students are expected to treat each other in a Christ-like manner at all times and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The actions of those who took part in the attack are reprehensible and entirely unacceptable. They are not an accurate reflection of our Catholic values or of Archbishop Wood High School."
Police released surveillance footage of the suspects on Tuesday, identifying the 15 male and female suspects as "Wanted for Hate Crime/Assault."
Users on social media claimed to identify some of the suspects, who are believed to be made up of a group of former Archbishop Wood students, after studying the pictures and perusing Facebook.
But on Wednesday, the viral social media hunt led to online attacks against La Viola Restaurant in Rittenhouse, where the suspects are alleged to have dined before Thursday's attack.
Meanwhile, despite police dubbing the incident a "hate crime," Pennsylvania state laws only consider an assault a hate crime if the crime is committed with malicious intent based specifically on the victim's ethnicity, religion or race -- not sexual orientation.
CBS reported that State Rep. Brendan Boyle, of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, has introduced a bill to add "sexual orientation" to the protected classes under the state's hate crime law.