News Briefing

News Briefing

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Rapist appeals conviction

Jeffrey J. Marsalis, a sex offender whose rape of a lesbian contributed to his lengthy prison term, is appealing his conviction.

Eleven local women pressed charges against Marsalis, contending he raped them between 2003-05 in Philadelphia and Northampton counties.

In 2007, Marsalis was convicted of two felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from the women’s allegations.

There was no mandatory minimum for the convictions, and Marsalis could have been sentenced to probation.

But in 2005, Marsalis raped a lesbian in Colorado — a crime that law-enforcement officials say helped persuade Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Steven R. Geroff to impose a lengthy sentence on Marsalis.

In October 2007, Geroff sentenced Marsalis to 10-and-a-half to 21 years in state prison for his local crimes.

In January, Geroff upheld Marsalis’ conviction and, last month, Marsalis filed a notice of appeal in state Superior Court.

Marsalis, 40, remains incarcerated at a state prison in Marienville.

No oral arguments in Haverford case

Antigay activist James Schneller continues to seek the nullification of Haverford Township’s LGBT-inclusive antibias ordinance. He’s filed suit in Commonwealth Court to accomplish that goal.

The court recently announced it won’t hear oral arguments in the case but will decide the case solely on written briefs.

Haverford enacted the ordinance in 2011. It bans discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property and public accommodations and establishes a human-relations panel to investigate complaints.

Violators face penalties of up to $5,000 per discriminatory act.

Antigay activist Fred W. Teal filed the first legal challenge to Haverford’s ordinance in March 2011. But Teal died in September 2012, while his challenge was pending.

In December 2013, Haverford officials filed a legal brief with the court, defending the ordinance.

The court’s decision is expected in the next few months.

Law project opens doors

The public is invited to attend an open house sponsored by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania from 5-7 p.m. April 8 at 1211 Chestnut St., Suite 600.

“We’ve recently finished a fabulous office makeover, and we’re having an open house to show it off,” said agency director Ronda B. Goldfein.

There will be light food and drinks from Tim Bellew Food.

“Think of it as happy hour with a purpose,” she added.

Goldfein expressed thanks to agency board member Michael Ippoliti for his “keen sense of interior design,” and to Knoll Inc. for donating new furniture.

To attend, email Juan Baez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

— Tim Cwiek

DA forum on safety

District Attorney Seth Williams is hosting a forum on safety in the LGBT community.

The event will take place from 5-7 p.m. April 1 at the D.A.’s Office, 3 S. Penn Square.

The D.A.’s Office will be joined by members of the Philadelphia Police Department to discuss crime prevention and safety.

Come out for Collins

Join LGBTs and allies to welcome the first-ever openly LGBT professional athlete to Philadelphia next week.

New Brooklyn Nets member Jason Collins will be in town for the Nets-76ers game 7:30 p.m. April 5 at Wells Fargo Center.

Although blocked seats are not available, a contingent of LGBTs and allies will be sitting in Section 217. To purchase tickets, visit, enter promo code LGBT, select the April 5 game and select seats in 217 or 216A.

For more information, visit

— Jen Colletta

Get Lucid hosts monthly party

Activist and artist collective Get Lucid! will host its Activist Dance Party next week, this time celebrating and raising funds for an organization that fights street harassment.

The party, from 8 p.m.-3 a.m. April 5 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., will focus on beneficiary Hollaback Philly, which advocates for safer streets.

There will be a host of live entertainment, including musicians, artists, spoken-word performers and comedians.

Admission is $5 in advance or $8 at the door. To buy tickets, visit For more information, visit

— Angela Thomas

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