Worcester Telegram Reporter Richard Nangle ‘Stands By’ Story Echoing ACLU Activist Sarah Loy’s Lie Against Larry Cirignano Rejected by Jury

pseudo_victim_sarah_loy_in_tears.jpg This photo of ACLU activist (or should we say actress?) Sarah Loy crying at the rally where she falsely accused pro-family advocate Larry Cirignano of violently assaulting her, appeared in the December 17, 2007, Worcester Telegram and Gazette’s initial report of the incident. Telegram Reporter Richard Nangle (rnangle@telegram.com) wrote that Cirignano “pushed [Loy] to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.” But a jury rejected this story, which echoed Loy’s account. (The jury found that Loy tripped rather than being pushed.) Nangle, testifying in court, could not find himself among enlarged photos of people at the center of the rally crowd — casting into doubt whether he could have seen what actually transpired.  Nevertheless, a defiant Nangle says he “stands by everything” that he originally reported. Telegram photo is by Paul Kapteyn. 

By Peter LaBarbera

This is a fascinating case involving media bias: a reporter whose story was proven false — or at least not credible — in a court of law is “stand[ing] by everything ” he originally wrote.

On December 16, 2006, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette published a story under reporter Richard Nangle’s byline, regarding a pro-marriage rally in Worcester protested by Sarah Loy and the local ACLU. Nangle, an ACLU Board Member, reported that Catholic family advocate Larry Cirignano had “pushed [Loy] to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.”

Nangle’s vivid depiction of the alleged attack echoed Loy’s own charges of assault and battery against Cirignano, and helped created an impression in the public’s mind that she was a victim of violence (and that he was violent man who attacks women). A photo accompanying Nangle’s story (see above) showed Loy in tears at the rally scene. However, on October 22, a jury found Larry Cirignano innocent of assault and battery against Loy, a week after presiding Judge David Despotopulos had thrown out Loy’s “civil rights” complaint against him. See our story relaying MassRessistance’s account of the case and trial.

Here are the first three paragraphs in Nangle’s story, under the headline (which he did not necessarily write), “Worcester Rally Takes Ugly Turn; Gay Marriage Backer Pushed,” with emphasis added:

WORCESTER- Tempers boiled over at an anti-gay marriage rally yesterday when the executive director of the Boston-based Catholic Citizenship emerged from behind a lectern outside City Hall, rushed toward a female counter-demonstrator, and pushed her to the ground.


Sarah Loy, 27, of Worcester was holding a sign in defense of same-sex marriage amid a sea of green “Let the People Vote” signs when Larry Cirignano of Canton, who heads the Catholic Citizenship group, ran into the crowd, grabbed her by both shoulders and told her, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then pushed her to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.


“It was definitely assault and battery,” said Ronal C. Madnick, director of the Worcester County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Police interviewed Mr. Madnick and several others moments after the incident.

Notwithstanding Nangle’s tendentious account above, which led readers across Massachusetts to believe that Cirignano meanly attacked a woman in the open public, Loy’s allegations were rejected by a jury — after the government’s own alleged witnesses who implicated Cirignano in the supposed attack could not be located in rally crowd photos and video of the event.

Reporter Nangle’s was called to testify at the trial, but his credibility was undermined when he, too, could not locate himself in the same blown-up still photos of the rally crowd surrounding Loy. MassResistance’s Brian Camenker, who attended the trial and wrote daily web entries covering it, describes Nangle’s testimony on Day Two, October 17 (emphasis added):

Richard Nangle, a reporter for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, had written a hostile first-person account of the incident which was published in a number of newspapers. He told the court he saw someone push Loy to the ground, saying that he was 6-8 feet from Loy at the time. But he wasn’t able to identify himself in any of the several photos taken at the time, which covered the entire crowd and showed every person.

Based on trial evidence, Nangle and other “witnesses” to the (non)assault had actually been standing dozens of feet apart from the rally, and so would have a hard time seeing what actually observing what happened to Loy in the crowded area where rally-goers were standing.

Despite all this, Nangle is not budging on the accuracy of his December 16th story. After a different reporter for the Telegram and Gazette wrote the newspaper’s article covering Cirignano’s acquittal, Nangle responded as follows in the newspaper’s online comments page: “Just for the record folks, I stand by my story and testimony. — Richard Nangle.” And he wrote this in the “reader’s comment” to his own original article about the rally: “For the record, I stand by everything in this story.”

Charges of journalistic bias and especially a pervasive liberal media slant are common in the United States, but rarely is there an actual jury trial to examine the evidence supporting or opposing a reporter’s coverage. Richard Nangle’s version of what happened on December 16, 2006 was rejected by a jury that carefully considered the facts — including where he was standing at the time to be able to witness what happened to Loy.

It does not matter what Nangle thought he saw: his account was reckless and helped trash the reputation of a good man, who ended up leaving the state. Nangle should no longer be trusted by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette — or any other media — to report the real news.

And if the Worcester Telegram still trusts Nangle despite his obvious fabrication disguised as a news story, can Worcester’s citizens trust the Telegram?

The following is an excerpt from Brian Camenker’s account of Cirignano’s trial:

…Then, after several witnesses testified, it became clear that Loy had not been pushed by Larry at all. Instead, Loy had tripped over the foot of a thirteen-year-old girl standing in the crowd, after Larry had walked away. The girl testified, her mother testified, another girl standing nearby testified, and several others. Even the prosecutor was forced to give up that argument.


Even Loy’s claim that she had hit her head on the ground was debunked by witnesses who testified they saw her land on her buttocks, break her fall with her hand, look around for a second, and then l lie down in a fetal position and scream.


A number of pro-homosexual “witnesses” came to testify that they “saw” Larry push Loy down. But one by one, as they were cross-examined by Defense Attorney Michael C. Gilleran, their stories ended up having big holes. When pressed, most of them admitted didn’t “really” see Larry push anybody. And a video taken of the general area at the time of the incident showed that many of them weren’t anywhere near where they said they were.


So in the end the “assault and battery” charge came down to about ten seconds and five feet: When Sarah Loy was standing in front of the podium holding her gay-marriage sign and screaming at the marriage rally crowd, Larry used his forearm (gently) to lead her to the side. That’s it. And the Commonwealth of Massachusetts claimed that Larry Cirignano should have been convicted of assault and battery over that. But the jury obviously had had enough and did the right thing.


This article was posted on Friday, October 26th, 2007 at 4:23 pm and is filed under ACLU - Gay & Lesbian Project, Bullying & Victimhood, Christian Persecution, Diversity & Tolerance Propaganda, Freedom Under Fire, GLBTQ Lawsuits & Retribution, Government Promotion, Homosexual Hate, Homosexual Hate Speech, Media Promotion, News. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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