A Ross man accused of assaulting a gay man in Lawrenceville two months ago waived his preliminary hearing this morning, according to online court records.
Vincent Happ, 24, faces one count of simple assault.
Mr. Happ told Pittsburgh police that he and four friends left Remedy bar early Oct. 6 and some people in the group began using a derogatory word for a gay person to refer to one another when Benjamin Stoviak, 26, of Squirrel Hill, and his boyfriend, Aaron MacLaughlan, 22, overheard them and thought the remarks were directed at them.
At some point, he and Mr. Stoviak exchanged words, according to a criminal complaint, and a fight broke out. When police arrived on Butler Street shortly after 2:30 a.m., Mr. Stoviak’s face was bloody and several bruises were beginning to form.
The fight attracted attention when local LGBTQ groups began advocating for Mr. Stoviak and some asked why the fight wasn’t prosecuted as a hate crime.
Mr. Happ’s attorney, Charles Gallo, has said in the past, “We vehemently deny that this is a hate crime. This has nothing to do with anyone being gay.”
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.