CHICAGO (BP)–Concern has been voiced that a hate crime was committed when a 19-year-old homosexual man murdered a Catholic woman in Chicago after she questioned his sexual orientation, but the story has escaped the media spotlight.
Nicholas Gutierrez lived in the apartment above a funeral home on the northwest side of Chicago where 51-year-old Mary Stachowicz, a devout and outspoken Catholic, worked part-time. The woman’s body was discovered in a crawl space beneath the apartment, and Gutierrez was charged with her murder Nov. 16.
Reports say Gutierrez confessed to the crime during a videotaped interrogation and explained that he had become furious when Stachowicz asked him, “Why do you [have sex with] boys instead of girls?”
Gutierrez at one time worked as a janitor at the funeral home, so the two knew each other. Apparently the woman had questioned the young man on occasion about his lifestyle, and he claimed that the way she talked to him gave him flashbacks to his mother.
Police said Gutierrez became enraged after Stachowicz questioned him about his sexual orientation and then punched, kicked and stabbed the victim until he was tired. Then he placed a plastic garbage bag over her head and strangled her.
Despite the uniqueness of the tragedy, the mainstream media has paid little attention. A number of conservatives are drawing a stark contrast to the way the media handled the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual man who was murdered by three heterosexual men in Wyoming after he propositioned them in a bar.
“If a gay man had been murdered for trying to convince someone to be gay, it would be a national news story and be deemed a hate crime. But when a gay man murders a woman who tried to convince him to change, the media spike the story,” said Peter LaBarbera, senior policy analyst for the Culture and Family Institute for Concerned Women for America. “If Matthew Shepard’s murder deserved national media attention, then why not Mary Stachowicz’s?”
LaBarbera said the Culture and Family Institute will monitor the coverage of the case as they have in other cases involving anti-religious bigotry.
“It appears that Mary Stachowicz was murdered for sharing her Catholic beliefs,” LaBarbera said. “This case tragically displays the intense hatred for Christianity that exists among some in the homosexual community.”
Rod Dreher, a senior staff writer for National Review, also believes the media was unnecessarily quiet regarding Stachowicz’s murder compared to Shepard’s.
“There is no moral difference between these acts,” Dreher wrote in his Nov. 26 column. “Both were heinous, and both deserve publicity. Yet the American media made Matthew Shepard an overnight cause celebre, and have so far said very little about Mary Stachowicz — just as the media said very little about Jesse Dirkhising, the 13-year-old Arkansas boy raped, tortured and strangled by homosexuals in 1999.”
Dreher went on to quote Andrew Sullivan, who he said was “probably the most articulate gay-rights advocate in journalism.”
“What we are seeing, I fear, is a logical consequence of the culture that hate-crimes rhetoric promotes,” Sullivan wrote in a 2001 New Republic article about the media bias in the Shepard and Dirkhising cases. “Some deaths — if they affect a politically protected class — are worth more than others. Other deaths, those that do not fit a politically correct profile, are left to oblivion.”