Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Gay priest supports teen accused of SF murder

A gay independent Catholic priest is asking for a boy accused of murder in San Francisco to be charged as a juvenile, rather than as an adult.

Rashawn Williams (

Homicide victim Rashawn Williams (

The teen, whose name hasn’t been released because he’s a juvenile, has been charged in last month’s fatal stabbing of Rashawn Williams, 14, in the Mission district.

In a letter to District Attorney George Gascon released Wednesday (October 22), Reverend River Sims said he hopes the DA “will look at the case from the perspective of the young man’s age, and his future.”

Sims, who’s worked for years with LGBT youth in the city, appears to have directed his letter to the wrong person, though.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the DA’s office has already declined to charge the teen as an adult, and the decision lies with a juvenile court judge. As the Examiner indicated, the boy’s sentence could be greater if he’s tried and convicted as an adult, which is how Williams’s family wants him charged.

Sims said that at 14, the defendant’s brain “is not fully developed,” and at that age, people’s “decisions are made in the moment and without thought to the consequences. And in looking at the information presented so far my guess is that he was jealous of Rashawn’s life, the prospects he was given going to Sacred Heart [Cathedral Preparatory school], and in those moments acted out, with terrible consequences.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 22, 2014 @ 4:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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