Teen Commits Suicide After
Local Police Threaten to "OUT" Him
By Kyle Quandel
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled (2000) that a person's constitutional right to privacy includes their sexual orientation, and "it is difficult to imagine a more private matter than one's sexuality and a less likely probability that the government would have a legitimate interest in its disclosure," and by threatening to disclose ones homosexuality would be tantamount to doing so, "because the security of one's privacy has been compromised by the threat."
Yet, in April 1997, in Minersville, PA, police officers approached two teens, Marcus Wayman and another friend, while in an abandoned parking lot where they were turning around their vehicle. Officers immediately separated the teens, while another officer stood guard.
After finding condoms on the teens, the officers within minutes concluded they were "queers." Minersville officer Scott Willinsky said that the boys said they stopped to have sex. The small town police threatened to tell Wayman's family and community that he was a 'fag' and quoted biblical passages while placing them under arrest for alleged underage drinking.
Wayman, a High School football player (scared that he would be "outed" as a "fag" by police to the community and his deeply religious family) took a gun to his head hours later and shot himself. He was 18 years old.
There is absolutely NO indication that Marcus or his friend were gay at all. However, police concluded that two teen boys -- in a car -- carrying condoms -- were gay (Condoms = Queer?).
In a time of rampant HIV and STD infections, we teach our youth to practice safe sex. Yet in Minersville, carrying condoms is translated from responsible teenage behavior to being 'queer fags.'
Madonna Sterling (Wayman's mother) filed civil charges against Minersville police officers Police Chief Joseph Willinsky, son J. Scott Willinsky claiming that the officers violated Wayman's privacy rights. In November 2001, a jury acquitted the police from any wrongdoing!
As members of the community, we petition you to exercise your full powers to do whatever you can to bring these officers to justice and implement policies of diversity within our communities. Clear violations of the 4th and 14th Amendment, we, the undersigned, urge you to take action.
Specifically, we ask that you:
1. Investigate the police conduct for the purpose filing federal criminal charges (in addition to civil "Conspiracy to Deprive a Citizen of Civil Rights" charges, per 42 USC 1983 et seq.).
2. Order that police officers be adequately trained in sensitivity to sexual minority issues and a written policy is adopted (especially in Minersville, PA).
3. Adopt state legislation to prevent a recurrence of the Minersville Tragedy.
4. Undertake the prosecution of the police officers involved on federal criminal charges and a civil action for "Conspiracy to Deprive of Civil Rights" under title 42 of the United States Code.
This issue is one of privacy and security; protected under our constitutional rights. While one teenager is dead, perhaps by taking these measures and exerting your powers, we can ensure that this will not happen to another single person again, regardless of orientation! We ask you to support the US Circuit Appeals decision and support everyone's right to personal privacy.
Update on this case:
NEW TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR TEEN SUICIDE CASE
POLICE TO FACE CHARGES IN FEDERAL COURT OVER MISCONDUCT AGAIN
To view the entire release, please go to our site at http://www.marcuswayman.org and look under the resources page.
A major victory, allowing the case to move forward.
Many thanks for your support and continue to help spread the message.
With love & peace-
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The Journal of History - Fall 2002 Copyright © 2002 by News Source, Inc.