"F——g f——s!" court documents showed Clabough shouting at the couple while heading into the SoHo News International bodega at 186 Prince St. to buy beer on a weekend afternoon. "This used to be a nice neighborhood. F——g f——s are ruining this neighborhood!"
When police tracked Clabough down 10 days later, the couple was asked to pick him out in a lineup, Larry said.
"I thought I would feel angry when I saw him," Larry said in an exclusive statement to DNAinfo New York. "Instead, I immediately recognized him and immediately felt sorry for him."
Thomas Clabough after he was arrested on Aug. 12, 2015. Photo Credit: DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp.
Speaking with friends about the experience later that night, Larry said a friend asked if his reaction might mean he'd forgiven Clabough.
Larry thought at first the idea of forgiving the man who assaulted his husband was unfathomable.
But his friend was right.
"It’s a complicated thing to forgive someone who’s done and said the things he did," Larry said. "That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t answer for his crime because I firmly believe everyone should have to take responsibility for his or her actions.
"But I don’t hate him. Where would hating him get us? Wasn’t it hate that got us here in the first place?"
Clabough has pleaded guilty to assault in the third degree as a hate crime, the top charge he faced in connection with the Aug. 2 incident, the DA's office said.
As part of his plea, he must complete three days of community service and participate in a restorative justice program at the Museum of Tolerance.
If Clabough does that and stays out of trouble for six months, he can withdraw his guilty plea and re-plead to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct, erasing the felony from his record.
Clabough was eligible for the deal because he had never been arrested before. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
And, Larry said, it was his time at West Point that taught him to forgive Clabough.
"The same institution that taught me how to kick his ass also taught me compassion," he said.
Larry "wasn’t a perfect cadet," by his own admission. Frustration at being forced to live within the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy caused him to act out.
He did "more than 100 hours of disciplinary marching" to atone for things like missing bedtime and wearing civilian clothing, he said, and that marching forced him to grow and mature.
"Accepting responsibility for my wrongs and doing the time as the code of conduct dictates allowed me to rehabilitate into a productive member of the West Point community," he said.
So when the District Attorney's office explained the plea deal to the Lennox-Choates, Larry said he and his husband were supportive.
"I can’t imagine a scenario where I grow to LOVE this guy," Larry added. "But I don’t hate him. A part of our decision to not be victims is not allowing ourselves to be motivated by hate. That would be easy but it would also be wrong."