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Heilman Drops 1 From Assault Lawsuit : 2 Others Still Named in Complaint by W. Hollywood Councilman

December 01, 1988|RON RUSSELL | Times Staff Writer

West Hollywood City Councilman John Heilman has dropped a lawsuit against one of three men he accused of assaulting him because he is gay outside a West Hollywood restaurant in April.

A lawyer for Heilman said Lewis Charles Brutocao, 20, of Covina, was deleted from the suit after Heilman acknowledged that Brutocao did not participate in the alleged attack.

The others named in a complaint filed last week in Santa Monica Superior Court are Edward David Heckerson, 20, of Redondo Beach, and Bogart Dirk McGavin, 26, of Los Angeles. They are accused of assault, battery, false imprisonment, emotional distress, conspiracy and slander.

State law allows victims of violence resulting from sexual orientation to seek civil damages.

Name Misspelled

McGavin is the son of actor Darren McGavin. His last name was misspelled as McGarren in both the complaint and a report of the incident by sheriff's deputies, said Vanessa Place, a lawyer for Heilman.

According to the suit, the assault occurred about 1:15 a.m. April 15 in the parking lot of the French Market Restaurant in the 7900 block of Santa Monica Boulevard.

The suit said that the three men were in a car as Heilman was entering his own car and that McGavin and Heckerson began shouting derogatory names at him.

Heilman said he tried to ignore the remarks but that the men continued to shout and McGavin grabbed him by the jacket, pulling him from the car. Heilman said McGavin beat him on the head and shoulders while Heckerson held him.

The councilman said the men fled after a bouncer from a nearby club came to his aid. Heilman was treated for head injuries at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Neither McGavin nor Heckerson could be reached.

Gerald Klein, Brutocao's lawyer, expressed disappointment that his client had been included in the complaint, saying that Brutocao "was innocent of any wrongdoing, and was in no way the bad guy."

Klein said that Brutocao, who is now a student at the University of Santa Clara, had "apologized to Mr. Heilman at the scene for the actions of the others" and was "genuinely taken aback that his name should ever have entered the picture."

In a statement to sheriff's deputies, Heckerson said the incident occurred after McGavin approached him and Brutocao for a ride as the two men were leaving Peanuts Disco, which shares the same parking lot with the restaurant where Heilman said he had gone for a late-night meal.

Heckerson said that as they were leaving the parking lot, McGavin saw Heilman getting into a car and identified him as someone who had made a sexual advance toward him at the disco earlier in the evening.

Heilman called the allegation "absurd," saying that he was never at the disco, and that he had never seen either of the men before.

As part of a plea bargain, McGavin pleaded guilty in July to disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor, in Beverly Hills Municipal Court and was fined $150, placed on a year's probation, and ordered to write Heilman a letter of apology, Deputy Dist. Atty. Elden Fox said.

A charge of battery was dismissed against Brutocao in June, at Heilman's request. No criminal charges were filed against Heckerson, the prosecutor said.

The councilman said that even though the incident occurred seven months ago, he did not disclose it until last week because he feared the publicity might interfere with a criminal case against McGavin and that "in the trauma of what happened, I wasn't prepared to talk about it."

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