Knott gets jail time in Center City gay bashing case

Charles Mostoller

A punishment that shocked a courtroom – Center City gay basher Kathryn Knott was sentenced to five to 10 months in prison Monday.

Common Pleas Judge Roxanne Covington sent a loud and clear message when she reminded Knott that when she and her group of friends left a man bloodied and near dead in the street on Sept. 11, 2014, right then and there, she gave up her freedom.

“This is the type of behavior that is a violation of human rights and this court recognizes it as such,” said Covington.

“You [Knott] have a lack of appreciation for the seriousness of this crime.”

In December, a Philadelphia jury found the Bucks County 25-year old guilty of simple assault and conspiracy to commit simple assault against two gay men who were getting pizza after a night out in Midtown Village. In October, two co-conspirators were sentenced to probation as part of a negotiated plea deal.

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Before the judge made her decision, Knott exercised her right of allocution and addressed the court, as well as her two victims – Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught – who were front row for the sentencing.

“I am so sorry for what happened to you both,” a tearful Knott said as she turned and faced her victims.

“You did not deserve what happened to you. There were many times during this trial when I asked if the three of us could meet. I thought you could forgive me…I hope this case has educated people…I apologize to you and your families.”

Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry said after court that he was happy with the sentence.

“As we said from the beginning, it was the wish of the victims that there be an admission of guilt and no trial,” he said.

“They just wanted it to go away, so long as people admitted their guilt. They’re very forgiving people. They’re not vengeful people, but failing that, and given the fact she very specifically did not admit her guilt – both at trial and consistently tried to take the focus away from herself and her actions…I thought an incarceration sentence was appropriate.”

Defense attorney Lou Busico offered up character letters and several family members came to support Knott prior to sentencing. He asked the judge to impose probation rather than jail time.

“I don’t make lightly of it or minimize or depreciate the impact of it – make no mistake – only one side has been victimized here,” he said.

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After the attack, the more severely beaten of the two, Haught, had to have his jaw wired shut for eight weeks. He now has a scar that runs down the center of his face. Haught spoke as a witness before sentencing Monday.

“I was a man left lying in a pool of his own blood – not once checked on to see if I was still alive,” he said, everyone in the courtroom seemingly hanging on his every word.

“I can eat solid foods again. That group, including Kathryn Knott, left me in that alleyway to die.”

In total, Knott was sentenced to five to 10 months, two years’ probation, a $2,000 fine, ordered to undergo anger management rehabilitative classes, she’s banned from the City of Philadelphia, and given a stay-away order from her victims and their families.

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