Church school fires coach tied to beating of gay couple

By : Staff Report
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Philadelphia – Church officials have fired an assistant basketball coach at a Roman Catholic high school who they say was involved in an encounter in Philadelphia in which two gay men were beaten.

The identities of the men and women involved in the Sept. 11 beating became known when surveillance video was released and social media users helped connect names to pictures. No arrests have yet been made.
The Philadelphia Archdiocese said Sept. 18 some in the group were former students of Archbishop Wood High School near Philadelphia.

They say one worked as an assistant basketball coach and sources close to the investigation say it was Fran McGlinn, who had been “serving as a coach on a contract basis,” said Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese.

McGlinn, 25, along with several other former Wood students, allegedly participated in an attack on a gay couple as the men were walking near Rittenhouse Square.

“He was terminated this evening and will not be permitted to coach in any archdiocesan school,” Gavin said. “We expect all those who work with students in our schools to model appropriate Christian behavior at all times.”

In a statement issued Sept. 18, Archbishop Charles Chaput said the coach resigned after being contacted by school leadership about the incident.

“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.

Philadelphia police say they got a valuable assist from social media users. Police released surveillance video of a group of men and women wanted for questioning.Not long afterward, a restaurant photo of the group surfaced and social media users set out to identify them. A police detective tweeted, “This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops.’

Meanwhile police sources told the Daily News that at least a few of the alleged assailants had been interviewed by investigators. So far, no arrests have been made.

McGlinn graduated from Wood, in Warminster, Bucks County, in 2007. He was a key member of the Wood Vikings, and persevered on the court despite being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a debilitating heart condition.

“The doctors told me that I could never play basketball again,” McGlinn wrote in an online profile. “However, I still stayed on my high school and AAU teams and went to every game and practice.”

The two victims of the attack told police that a group of about 12 twenty-somethings, dressed for a night on the town, crossed paths with them on 16th Street near Chancellor just before 11 p.m.

Someone in the group allegedly confronted one of the men, asking him if his companion was “his fucking boyfriend.”

A fight broke out, during which the men were savagely beaten. One victim suffered multiple facial fractures and his jaw had to be wired shut, the victims told the Daily News.

It is unclear what role McGlinn played in the attack. But the archdiocese said it will not tolerate “the violent and hateful behavior displayed by those who took part in this senseless attack.”

The victims, and many of their supporters, have described the violent act as a hate crime, but the District Attorney’s Office said that the case may not fit that standard. State law on hate crimes does not include sexual orientation.

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