Robert Knight

On October 22, Larry Cirignano could breathe easy again for the first time in 10 months.

The pro-family Catholic activist was acquitted of assault and battery charges leveled by a Massachusetts ACLU official and backed by a local reporter.

The alleged “assault,” stemming from an incident at a Worcester pro-marriage rally last December, never happened. A jury dismissed all counts. However, the Worcester Telegram-Gazette has refused to apologize for or retract its stories “reporting” that Cirignano angrily threw a counter-protestor to the pavement.

And Cirignano has had to live with the accusation for nearly a year, his freedom and his license to practice law in jeopardy, while the legal charade played out.

For those who think of Katie Couric, MSNBC or the New York Times when considering media bias, this is a reminder that bias is also rampant at state and local news outlets, where newsrooms are dominated by reporters and editors marinated in leftist groupthink at university journalism programs.

As you’ll see below, the local press played a huge role in making a citizen pay the price for opposing the pansexual political agenda. Worcester Telegram-Gazette reporter Richard Nangle misreported the story from the beginning and eventually became a star witness for the prosecution. Telegram Metro columnist Diane Williamson openly mocked the defense case in an Oct. 18 piece entitled “Fishy Excuse Shouldn’t Get Him Off,” and called Nangle the only “objective” witness.

The original allegation was that Cirignano slammed protester Sarah Loy to the sidewalk at a pro-marriage rally outside the Worcester City Hall on Dec. 16, 2006. Loy, an officer with the Massachusetts ACLU, had been waving a pro-homosexual marriage sign in front of the lectern. Loy accused Cirignano of approaching her from behind, grabbing her shoulders and pushing her backwards to the ground.

At the trial, only two of the prosecution’s witnesses supported Loy’s account of the “assault.” Nangle, who was covering the rally for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and Unitarian minister Aaron Payson both testified they saw Cirignano push Loy. However, Cirignano’s defense counsel established with video and photos that neither man was close enough to have reliably witnessed the event.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.