New trial granted in Pennsylvania teen's suicide

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 05 2003 12:00 AM ET

A federal appeals court has backed a lower court decision to allow a new trial in a lawsuit accusing police of driving an 18-year-old to suicide by threatening to tell his family he was gay. The third circuit U.S. court of appeals, in a decision Monday, supported a lower court judge's decision to throw out a jury's verdict that had cleared the borough of Minersville, Pa., and three police officers of violating the teen's privacy rights.

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 friends and family he was gay. Wayman's mother, Madonna Sterling, sued the borough and police, but a jury found them innocent. Minersville is about 45 miles northeast of Harrisburg.