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A pop-culture icon is coming to town PAGE 19 Family Portrait: Josh Shonewolf ActionAIDS gets national attending, funding for prison work PAGE 23 PAGE 5 Nov. 23-29, 2012 Vol. 36 No. 47 City: Scouts verdict should be tossed out Transwoman gets up to 50 years in hotel killing By Jen Colletta A transgender woman pleaded guilty last week to murdering a man who was paying her for sex. On Nov. 13, days before her trial was to begin, Peaches Burton accepted a plea deal for the 2010 murder of Patrick Michael Brady at the Omni Hotel in Old City. Burton, 24, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and arson. Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn Bronson sentenced her to 25-50 years in prison, a sentence agreed to by both defense and prosecution attorneys. The sentence was broken down to include 20-40 years for the murder charge and five-10 years for the arson charge, to be served concurrently with one-two years for the abuse of corpse charge. Other charges, including theft, receiving stolen property and causing catastrophe, were dropped as part of the plea agreePEACHES ment. BURTON PGN Defense attorFile photo ney Michael Medway said he thinks the deal was fair on all sides, especially “when you consider this case started as a deathpenalty case and we were able to — as a result of our investigation of [Burton’s legal name] Herman, [her] background and everything that led up to [her] getting arrested — convince the DA’s office to take death off the table.” Assistant District Attorney Joanna Pescatore, who prosecuted PAGE 14 the case, told By Timothy Cwiek ONWARD AND UPWARD: Drexel University students, faculty and staff gathered at 32nd and Market streets Nov. 20 to mark the raising of the transgender flag in recognition of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The occasion, initiated by alums like Erica Deuso (second from left) and supported by administrators such as Rebecca Weindensaul, Drexel’s associate dean of student affairs (fourth from right), is thought to be the first time the flag has been raised on a college campus in the region. TDOR events were held throughout the city Tuesday and, for the first time, the occasion was marked in a proclamation from Mayor Nutter. Photo: Scott A. Drake Philly companies rank high in corporate LGBT index By Angela Thomas Every year, the Human Rights Campaign releases a list of companies that have demonstrated leadership and excellence in LGBT workplace equality and, this year, several Philadelphia-based companies scored high. The Corporate Equality Index, now in its 11th year, scored a record 252 companies and businesses nationwide with a perfect 100, including locals GlaxoSmithKline and Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, which were at the top of the list last year, and Comcast Corp., a newcomer to the 100 score. Comcast, one of the world’s largest leading media, entertainment and communications companies, received the top score after an 80 last year. Klayton Fennell, vice president of government affairs and execu- tive champion of Comcast’s OUT employee affinity group, said he felt fortunate to work for a company that celebrates diversity. “[I’m] particularly proud that Comcast and NBC Universal have been named one of the nation’s ‘best places to work’ for the LGBT community. The recognition, celebration and active support of diverse people and ideas have always been and continue to be essential to our business,” Fennell said. Comcast lost points last year for not providing fully trans-inclusive health-insurance coverage and failing to meet the entire criteria for LGBT diversity training, two issues it rectified in the last year. Fennell said the company’s LGBT successes include nondiscrimination policies, equal insurance and other benefits, corporate philanthropy and marketing practices. PAGE 15 In a legal brief filed this week, city attorneys asked a federal appeals court to vacate a jury verdict blocking the eviction of the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council from a city-owned building. The brief describes the verdict as “irreconcilably inconsistent.” If the verdict isn’t tossed out, the city should at least get a new trial, according to the brief. In one section of the verdict, jurors said it was unreasonable for the city to expect Cradle to renounce the national BSA’s antigay policy to remain in the building rent-free. But in another section of the verdict, jurors said the city’s overall eviction attempt was reasonable. According to the brief, the contradiction is so glaring, it’s similar to a jury stating in one section of a verdict that a traffic light was red, and stating in another section that a traffic light was green. “A jury could not find that the traffic light was red in one interrogatory, and then, in the name of compromise, find that the traffic light was green in a different interrogatory,” the brief states. “The light was either red or green.” The city’s brief also emphasizes that no law requires the city to subsidize Cradle’s discriminatory conduct, including the First Amendment. Additionally, there’s no evidence that the city has violated any of Cradle’s constitutional rights, according to the brief. Several years ago, the city initiated eviction proceedings against PAGE 18 Cradle, which BREAKING BREAD: Colours Organization volunteers Christopher Smith (left) and Krissy Burns served a pre-Thanksgiving meal to agency supporters Nov. 19. About 60 people attended the meal, held at the organization’s headquarters. That night, Colours also held a vigil to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. Photo: Scott A. Drake

PGN Nov. 23-29, 2012

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