Nineteen-year-old Army Private Kyle Lawson returned to life as a civilian on Thursday, after being honorably discharged following his public statements about being assaulted by a fellow soldier. Lawson was reportedly punched after the other soldier found out he was gay.
Subsequent reports said that Lawson was also threatened by another soldier with a knife.
Lawson’s attacker was charged with felony aggravated assault, a charge which carries a 3 1/2 year average jail sentence, and which the Army later declined to prosecute. The Army’s statements about the incident and their handling of it have been inconsistent, prompting outrage from the Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and Patricia Kutteles, the mother of Pfc. Barry Winchell, who was slain in an anti-gay attack in 1999. Kutteles: “Words cannot express how upset we are to learn that no appropriate punishment has been ordered.”
Lawson reportedly requested his discharge on the basis of his sexuality.
Gay Soldier Who Told of Attack is Now a Civilian [arizona daily star]