Men who plead guilty in gay attack get banned from Center City: How that’s going to work

Neither men will be outfitted with an electronic monitoring device that would alert police. So how will this be enforced? You should keep your eyes peeled.

Kevin Harrigan and Phillip Williams.

Kevin Harrigan and Phillip Williams.

See those two men above? If you spot them in Center City, call the cops.

That’s basically how police and the district attorney’s office are planning to monitor the whereabouts of Phillip Williams and Kevin Harrigan, the two men who entered a plea agreement Thursday and won’t face jail time for their roles in the attack of a gay couple in Center City last fall.

Williams, 24, and Harrigan, 26, both of Bucks County, pleaded down their sentence to probation and community service, which is to be served at an LGBT community center. But as part of their probation — three years for Harrigan and five for Williams — the two are “banned” from entering Center City Philadelphia, from Girard Avenue to Washington Avenue, river to river.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry, who has handled the case, told The Daily News that “Center City is supposed to be a place of refuge. Their hope is that the sentencing handed down will make people feel safe. The whole city was hurt.”

Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the Office of the District Attorney, elaborated on the details of their probation, saying neither men will be outfitted with any sort of electronic monitoring device that would alert police if they enter the area they’re banned from.

So how will this be enforced? You should keep your eyes peeled.

“Philly Police are aware,” Kline said. “[Williams and Harrigan] are very recognizable figures, and if they come in or are seen, then we will let the ADA prosecuting the case know.”

Since the incident occurred, Kline said that Williams and Harrigan have already followed these procedures and haven’t voluntarily entered Center City — but reasonable exceptions have been and will continue to be allowed. For instance, the two can call ahead to ask for permission to come into the city for, say, a wedding. The DA’s office will contact the victims, and if they’re OK with it, the two will be allowed into Center City for the event.

Kline added that the stipulation as part of their probation is “not uncommon” and has been used in other cases — and the entire plea agreement was, according to prosecutors, what the victims wanted.

The guilty plea on the part of Williams and Harrigan ends a year-long ordeal for the two defendants. But their alleged accomplice in the attack, Kathryn Knott, 25, declined to accept a plea deal and is heading to trial.

The trio was accused of attacking a gay couple in Center City on Sept. 11 last fall and shouting anti-gay slurs throughout the attack. Both victims, Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught, reported being punched by the group. Haught was hospitalized for his injuries and had his jaw wired shut for weeks due to the attack.

The incident developed a national profile after social media sleuths worked to nail down who was connected to the attack in Center City.

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