Next Hearing Date Set for December in Cooney Trial

Philip Cooney (MSB ’10), who was arrested and charged in September with simple assault with a hate/bias specification, will appear before D.C. Superior Court for a pre-trial motion on Dec. 20, a date that was set during a short hearing before Associate Judge Robert Richter at a status conference on Friday.

Danny Onorato, Cooney’s attorney, said that this pre-trial motion hearing will focus on what information, including the prosecution’s identification process, will be disclosed.

Cooney was charged with assault following an incident on the early morning of Sept. 9 in which a Georgetown student was allegedly tackled and punched by one of two suspects and called gay slurs at the intersection of 36th and O Streets. On Oct. 12, Cooney pled not guilty, rejecting a plea offer that would have removed the hate/bias specification from the assault charge.

If convicted of the simple assault charge with a hate/bias specification, Cooney would face a maximum 270 days in jail, probation and a $1,500 fine.

According to Cooney’s arrest warrant affidavit, the two suspects fled the scene, and the victim was transported to Georgetown University Hospital for treatment of minor bruising and cuts.

The affidavit said that a friend of the victim saw a classmate matching the description of one of the suspects talking about the alleged incident during a class. The friend took note of his monogrammed backpack initials, and the victim proceeded to search through Facebook, where he identified Cooney from photographs. The etropolitan Police Department later obtained a photo of Cooney from the university and created a spread of nine photos, from which the victim identified Cooney as his assailant.

According to Onorato, the court directed the prosecutors during the status conference on Oct. 12 to provide more evidence validating the identification process, including the victim’s identification through Facebook.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment yesterday due to observance of Veterans Day.

– Andrew Dwulet

D.C. Ranks 8th in Ratio of Same-Sex Couples, Says New Survey

The District of Columbia has been ranked eighth among U.S. cities in a recent survey of the highest number of same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

The survey, “Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey,” was conducted by Gary Gates, a senior executive research fellow at the Williams Institute of UCLA, a group that focuses on sexual orientation law and public policy.

The study analyzes geographic trends among same-sex couples using data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Censuses, as well as the annual American Community Surveys from 2002 to 2006.

According to the study, D.C.’s ranking dropped from fifth place in 1990 and sixth place in 2000. The concentration of same-sex couples increased from 1990 to 2000, from 8.89 to 14.81. From 2000 to 2006, however, the concentration decreased to 13.49.

Nationwide, same-sex couples have quintupled since 1990, the study said. As of 2006, approximately 779,867 same-sex couples live in the United States, a 437 percent increase.

Gates said in the study, “Same-sex couples are becoming far more visible beyond traditional gay areas. Cleary these couples (and likely the broader lesbian, gay and bisexual population) are coming out and identifying themselves in government surveys at higher rates in parts of the country where they been historically least accepted, suggesting that these areas have become more hospitable and welcoming of this often stigmatized population.”

Washington, D.C. has consistently been among the top 10 cities with the highest concentrations of same-sex couples.

Other cities in the top 10 include Portland, Boston and Atlanta.

– Amelia Salutz

GU ROTC Marks Veterans Day with Ceremony

Georgetown’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps held a half-hour long ceremony honoring veterans Friday afternoon in Copley Formal Lounge.

Cadets in uniform lined the hallway, creating a somber atmosphere that was only enhanced by the rainy, gray sky outside.

Guests assumed their seats as they walked around the cadets standing in formation. Approximately 50 folding chairs were set up directly in front of the stage on which Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Steven Thomas, Rev. Sharon Henderson, Cadet Christina DiBartolomeo (COL ’11), Cadet William Quinn (SFS ’10), a columnist for THE HOYA, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Koprowski and Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Almeida were seated.

In standard military fashion, the ceremony started by posting the colors, and then proceeded with an invocation read by Henderson. Then Cadet Major Gordon Richmond gave a history of Veterans Day.

DiBartolomeo and Quinn read the Cadet Creed and the Soldier’s Creed.

The ceremony’s special guest speaker Almeida began his speech by asking all veterans to stand, and about half of the guests stood as well.

Almeida set the mood for the ceremony, saying, “I want to go ahead and remove you from that typical Friday afternoon and bring you back to the thoughts here of what we’re here to do and talk about, which is the meaning of Veterans Day, and what it means to all of us.”

– Anastacia Webb

Take Back the Night, GU Pride Hold Vigil for Gender-Related Violence as Part of Awareness Week

Students gathered in Sellinger Lounge on Friday evening for a vigil sponsored by Take Back the Night and GU Pride.

The vigil concluded Take Back the Night week, which featured various events and programs highlighting gender-related violence.

Jen Schweer, the university’s sexual assault and health issues coordinator, spoke during the vigil about student health services offered on campus.

Juley Fulcher, an adjunct assistant professor in the women’s and gender studies department, also spoke about issues surrounding gender-related violence and assault, and the prevalence of rape on college campuses.

Marion Cory (COL ’10), a representative of GU Pride, pledged the group’s solidarity with TBTN. Particularly after two alleged hate crimes this semester, GU Pride is committed to spreading the message that a crime based on gender and preconceived notions is not excusable, Cory said.

TBTN co-Chair Amanda Sandberg (COL ’08) said after the vigil that this year TBTN attempted to bring in LGBTQ issues into the discussion.

Student speakers shared personal stories of courage in the face of violence and assault and urged the group to spread its message.

“Each and every one of you who is here cares passionately. What’s important is the people who are not here tonight. We need to reach out to them,” Sandberg said.

The vigil ended with a moment of silence dedicated to victims of all types of violence.

Approximately 50 students attended, and Sandberg said that she was pleased with the turnout at the event.

“More people came out and supported us than any other year,” Sandberg said.

– Amelia Salutz

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