of Responsibility for Teen's Suicide
Heartbreaking Injustice Ignores Officer's Threat to 'Out' Youth
Marcus Wayman Put Revolver to His Own Face & Fired Twice
Compiled By GayToday
Allentown, Pennsylvania -- A federal jury cleared three small-town police officers Wednesday of allegations that they violated a teen's constitutional right to privacy by threatening to disclose that the teen was gay, causing him to commit suicide.
The American Civil Liberties Union and volunteer attorney David Rudovsky represented Madonna Sterling, the teen's mother, in the federal lawsuit and called the verdict a "heartbreaking injustice" in a statement released from James Esseks, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, which follows:
"More than four years ago, these officers threatened to tell Marcus Wayman's family that he was gay. He was released by the police at around midnight. Sometime before 6 a.m., he put a revolver to his face and fired. He missed, and fired again, killing himself.
"In the suicide note read in court this week, he said, 'I'm sorry grandpa, I found my future ... I won't let everyone's life be ruined by mine.'
"We will never know what would have become of Marcus Wayman. We can never begin to understand his mother's grief. Somehow, she found the extraordinary courage to come forward to hold these officers accountable.
"For so many people who share in this loss and wonder what can be done: Get involved to help gay youth. Volunteer with an LGBT youth group. Give your skills, your time or your money to groups that help families and youth understand sexual orientation. Help get schools, police stations and others to conduct training on handling anti-gay harassment. Let that, not a misguided jury verdict, be the legacy of this family."