Three years ago, Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams brutally beat a gay couple, Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse. The couple sued their attackers for $500,000. Though the case was set to go to court on December 4, the Kathryn Knott civil suit has been settled. The attackers have to pay their victims an undisclosed sum.
In 2014, Knott and 14 of her friends were in Philadelphia to celebrate a birthday. Witnesses said that Knott, Williams and Harrigan used anti-gay slurs during the incident, which began as a verbal altercation and escalated to a physical attack. Haught’s eye socket was broken and his jaw shattered. He had his mouth wired shut for eight months to recover from the injuries.
In the criminal suit, Knott’s co-defendants entered plea deals to escape jail time. Knott was convicted of assault and reckless endangerment. She was sentenced to 5-10 months in jail and to pay a $2,000 fine. She was released on parole in July 2016 after serving five months. She’s currently serving two years’ probation. Harrigan and Williams were sentenced to probation and community service to be performed at an LGBT center.
Though this civil suit has been settled, that’s not the end of Knott’s legal troubles. She along with her father, former Chalfont Chief of Police Karl Knott, former Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler and two county detectives, Martin McDonough and Mark Zielinski, have been accused of a conspiracy to retaliate against an online commenter critical of Knott.
Kathleen O’Donnell opened an account on Disqus, an online commenting platform, named “Knotty is a Tramp.” O’Donnell used this account to post criticism of Knott on news articles about her case. (Hornet uses the Disqus platform for its own comments.)
O’Donnell says the two Knotts, Heckler, McDonough and Zielinski was threatened with arrest over her posts. She was also fired from her job when McDonough and Zielinski told her employer about the “Knotty is a Tramp” comments.
O’Donnell is seeking $150,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million or more in punitive damages.