By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com October 29 2002 1:00 AM ET
A federal judge stood by his order for a new trial in a lawsuit accusing the Minersville, Pa., police of driving an 18-year-old to suicide by threatening to tell his family he was gay, reports The [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call. U.S. district judge Arnold C. Rapoport threw out a jury's verdict in June that had cleared the borough of Minersville and three police officers of violating the teen's privacy rights.
Rapoport decided that the evidence did not support the verdict. "Although this court is loath to invade the province of the jury, this decision is based on a careful consideration of all facts presented, personal observation of the witnesses, and an examination of the transcript in this matter," he wrote at the time. Officers' attorneys asked Rapoport to reconsider, but he issued a terse ruling on October 18 reaffirming the decision. Lawyers in the case received the opinion Thursday.
Eighteen-year-old Marcus Wayman, a high school football player, shot himself in the head at home in 1997, hours after the officers who arrested him on an underage drinking charge allegedly threatened to tell his grandfather he was gay. Wayman's family and friends repeatedly testified during the trial that he was heterosexual.
"This clears the way for another trial," said Kyle Quandel, a spokesman for Wayman's mother, Madonna Sterling. "It is quite clear that there is some wrongdoing here."