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Through a Friend, Phila. Gay Couple Express Gratitude For Prosecution of Tormentors

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The victims of the alleged gay-bashing incident nearly two weeks ago in center city say they are "overwhelmingly grateful" after authorities filed charges against three people -- two men and a woman, all from Bucks County.

A close friend of the couple was speaking on their behalf this morning.

Caryn Kunkle says the two men, although still struggling with anxiety and reluctant to leave the house, are overwhelmingly grateful to the detectives and the Philadelphia DA who have been working so hard on the case.

"And for the really strong stance that people have taken," she tells KYW Newsradio.  "So, Seth Williams' statement about Philadelphia not being a place where we welcome gay bashings, you know, that is not what Philadelphia is all about.  That was also really encouraging to them."

Kunkle says the two men are not surprised by comments from defense attorneys claiming it was a mutual altercation and suggesting the victims may have been aggressors.  She says detectives warned them to expect these tactics.

"The guys (arrested) clearly do not recall it that way," she says.   "I would say that 12 people who are in a lot of trouble right now desperately want to recall it that way."

She says there were foul anti-gay slurs and a vicious attack:

"A mutual fight is not telling your buddy, 'Hold his arms,' and 'we are going to take turns punching you in the face.'   That is not mutual.  So, 12 versus 2 is not mutual, and I would also say the extent of the damages done is not mutual."

One victim's jaw was wired shut because of fractures, and Kunkle wonders:  if the defendants and others in that group thought it was a mutual altercation or that they were attacked and acted in self-defense, why did they rush from the scene rather than stay, try to help the victim, and file a police report?

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