IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
OLIVIA A. ALAW, PHILIP L. BENHAM, MARK H. GABRIEL, HOWARD S. HELDRETH, A. DAVID HENDERSON, ERIK A. JUREK, PATRICK J. MAHONEY, RYAN T. MCGLADE, TROY E. NEWMAN, RICHARD P. REYNOLDS, SHARON R. RYGG, JOSHUA M. TURK, ESTHER C. TYREE, and JEFFREY L. WHITE, Defendants.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, alleges that:
1. The Attorney General files this Complaint on behalf of
the United States of America pursuant to the Freedom of Access to
Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (FACE), 18 U.S.C. § 248.
The United States brings this lawsuit because Defendants
interfered with persons who sought and provided reproductive
health services at a clinic in Washington, D.C. on January 24,
1998. In bringing this Action, the Attorney General has
reasonable cause to believe that the named Defendants have in the
past and will likely again commit violations of FACE.
This Complaint is being filed to ensure that: a) appropriate
civil penalties and statutory damages, as provided for under FACE, are imposed on the named Defendants for violations of
the Act; and b) the named Defendants are enjoined from committing
future violations of FACE.
JURISDICTION, STANDING AND VENUE
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and over out-of-state Defendants under D.C. Code Ann. § 13-423(a)(3).
3. The United States has standing to initiate this action
pursuant to FACE. 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2).
4. Venue in this judicial district is proper, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2), because the claims set forth in this
Complaint arose in this judicial district.
5. Defendant OLIVIA A. ALAW, on information and belief,
resides at 12407 Meadowcrest Lane, Balch Springs, Texas 75180.
6. Defendant PHILIP ("Flip") L. BENHAM, on information and
belief, resides at 621 Dawn Drive, Garland, Texas 75040. He is
the director of Operation Rescue National.
7. Defendant MARK H. GABRIEL, on information and belief,
resides at 3102 E. Park Side Blvd, Appleton, WI 54915.
8. Defendant HOWARD ("Scott") S. HELDRETH, on information
and belief, resides at 520 W. Spring Avenue, Naperville, Illinois
9. Defendant DAVID A. HENDERSON, on information and
belief, resides at 4122 Village Court, Annandale, Virginia 22003.
10. Defendant ERIK A. JUREK, on information and belief,
resides at 7004 Watchman Circle, Apt. 8, Montgomery, Alabama
11. Defendant PATRICK J. MAHONEY, on information and
belief, resides at 4019 Duke Of Gloucester Street,
Fredericksburg, VA 22407-4851.
12. Defendant RYAN T. MCGLADE, on information and belief,
resides at 1604 80th Street NW, Bradenton, Florida 34209.
13. Defendant TROY E. NEWMAN, on information and belief,
resides at P.O. Box 229, Rim Forest, CA 92378.
14. Defendant RICHARD P. REYNOLDS, on information and
belief, resides at 2610 Holy Cross Lane, Garland, Texas 75044.
15. Defendant SHARON R. RYGG, on information and belief,
resides at 198 North Creek Drive, Cheektowaga, New York 14225.
16. Defendant JOSHUA M. TURK, on information and belief,
resides at 2407 Quail Court, Bradenton, Florida 34209.
17. Defendant ESTHER C. TYREE, on information and belief,
resides at 6101 Nora Street, Metairie, Louisiana 70003.
18. Defendant JEFFREY L. WHITE, on information and belief,
resides at P.O. Box 2715, Blue Jay, California 92317.
19. Capitol Women's Center ("CWC" or "the clinic"), located
at 1339 22nd Street NW, Washington, D.C., provides comprehensive
reproductive health services to women, including abortion
procedures. It has three entrances. The two front entrances are
located along the front of the building facing west onto 22nd
Street. The southernmost front entrance is the main entrance,
which is the only regularly used means for patients to enter and
exit the clinic. Brick walkways lead from both front doors to
the sidewalk bordering 22nd Street. Shrubs and trees border each
side of, and fill the area between, these walkways, thereby
making the walkways the only accessible path to the front of the
clinic. The back entrance is accessible only by means of a gate
that opens onto a narrow, unpaved, brick back alley that
parallels 22nd Street.
20. Individuals visit CWC to obtain medical, surgical,
counseling, or referral services relating to the human
reproductive system, including pregnancy and the legal
termination of pregnancy. The clinic is open Monday through
Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
21. On January 24, 1998, during the week that marked the
twenty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in
Roe v. Wade, Defendants, in violation of FACE,
obstructed the clinic.
22. At a rally in the Washington, D.C. area on January
23rd, the night before the obstruction and protest, Defendant
Mahoney gave details to attendees about where and when the CWC
protest would take place.
23. At the January 23rd rally, Defendant Benham requested
to meet with all "rescuers" who were going to "lay their lives down" the following day. On information and belief, the term "rescue" refers to physically obstructing a clinic. He spoke with the individuals who responded to his request in a separate meeting.
24. On Saturday, January 24, 1998, at approximately 8:00
a.m., Defendants and protesters walked along 22nd Street toward
the clinic. Defendant Benham walked in front of the group.
25. At the time Defendants and other protesters arrived at
the clinic, clinic escorts, who had advance notice that the
protest would take place, were standing along the perimeter of
the walkways leading to the clinic entrances and in front of the
clinic doors. Clinic escorts volunteer to prevent clinic
blockades and assist patients and staff in entering and leaving
26. Members of the Special Operations Division of the
Metropolitan Police Department, who had also received advance
notice of the protest, were on site at the clinic at the time the
27. One group of Defendants, which included, on information
and belief, Defendants Gabriel, Heldreth, Newman, Reynolds, Rygg,
Tyree, and White knelt in a cluster in the walkway of the main
entrance, within the lines of clinic escorts who stood along the
perimeter of the walkway. Thus positioned, these Defendants
blocked ingress and egress to the main clinic entrance.
28. Another group of Defendants, including on information
and belief Defendants Alaw, McGlade and Turk, as well as other
protesters, stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the line of
clinic escorts who were securing the secondary entrance. Thus
positioned, these Defendants blocked ingress and egress to the
secondary front entrance.
29. As a result of the obstruction, clinic staff locked the
30. Defendant Mahoney stated to a protester that protesters
were needed at the clinic's back entrance. After conferring with
Defendant Benham, Defendant Henderson led several Defendants,
including, on information and belief, Defendants Alaw, McGlade,
and Turk from their position blocking access to the secondary
entrance to the clinic's back entrance.
31. At the back entrance, clinic escorts were already
standing in a semicircle to preserve access to the gate.
32. The Defendants, including, on information and belief,
Alaw, McGlade, and Turk who had been led to the back entrance
stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the clinic escorts who had
formed a semicircle at the gate. Defendant Jurek had already
stationed himself in this area. Other protesters stood scattered
in the alley. Thus positioned, Defendants attempted to block
ingress and egress to the back clinic entrance and made ingress
and egress unreasonably difficult or dangerous.
33. A short time later, a protester led the Defendants who
stood at the back entrance to the front of the property.
34. On information and belief, on return to the front
entrance, Defendants McGlade, Alaw, Turk and Mahoney sat or stood
shoulder to shoulder along the width of the secondary front
entrance. Thus positioned, Defendants blocked ingress and egress
to the secondary clinic entrance.
35. At about 8:15 a.m., a lieutenant of the Special
Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department issued
a warning that those who remained on clinic property would be
arrested. At about 8:21 a.m., he issued a second warning. At
about 8:25 a.m., police officers lined the curtilage of the
clinic's front property with police tape and issued a final
36. After the police had issued the third warning at the
front of the clinic, on information and belief, Defendants Alaw,
Gabriel, Heldreth, Mahoney, McGlade, Newman, Reynolds, Rygg,
Turk, Tyree and White, continued to defy the boundary established
by the police tape by remaining standing, sitting, kneeling or
lying in the entrances and walkways at the front of the clinic,
as described in paragraphs 27 and 34.
37. Defendant Benham stood within the police tape in the
middle of the walkway to the main entrance, facing the Defendants
who were kneeling or sitting in front of the doors.
38. The police arrested Defendants Alaw, Benham, Gabriel,
Heldreth, Mahoney, McGlade, Newman, Reynolds, Rygg, Turk, Tyree
and White. They were charged with incommoding, D.C. Code Ann. §
22-1107 (unlawful assembly) and released on their own
recognizance. Almost all Defendants passively resisted arrest by
allowing their bodies to become limp when police officers
approached. This form of resistance forced three or more police
officers to carry each protester from the scene.
39. One patient was escorted through the main entrance
after the police made arrests. Surrounded by clinic escorts,
that patient entered the clinic after walking up the main walkway
and waiting for clinic staff to unlock the front door.
40. All other patients were forced to access the clinic by
means of the back entrance, even after police had cleared the
front area. At least one patient entered the clinic before the
police arrested Defendants. Upon arriving at the clinic, most or
all patients were approached by clinic escorts and guided from
the front of the clinic along 22nd Street to P Street. They then
walked east on P Street to the back alley, turned south and
walked down the back alley. At the back alley, the clinic
escorts surrounding the patient approached the clinic escorts
surrounding the back gate. The groups of clinic escorts merged
and then squeezed the patient through a narrow opening of clinic
escorts to the back gate. At the back gate, patients waited for
the gate to be unlocked. Once through the gate, patients walked
through a back yard and down a half-flight of stairs to the back
entrance of the clinic.
41. After the arrests, police sealed off both ends of the
alley with police tape and cleared the alley of all clinic
escorts and protesters. Police allowed a small number of clinic
escorts to continue to guide patients through the alley to the
42. With the help of the police and clinic escorts, all
patients who attempted to enter the clinic managed to gain access
to the clinic on the day of the protest.
43. After police had released Defendants on their own
recognizance, two of the Defendants, including, on information
and belief, Defendant Gabriel, entered the clinic. While one of
the unidentified Defendants remained in the vestibule of the
clinic, Defendant Gabriel entered the waiting room, advising
patients in that room against having an abortion. These
Defendants left after the clinic receptionist threatened to call
44. Through their conduct, Defendants intentionally
interfered with or attempted to interfere with CWC clinic
employees and clients because these individuals were seeking to
provide or obtain, or in order to prevent them providing or
obtaining, reproductive health services.
45. Through their conduct, Defendants physically obstructed
CWC by rendering access to the clinic unreasonably difficult or
CAUSE OF ACTION FOR VIOLATION OF 18 U.S.C. § 248
46. Plaintiff realleges and repleads paragraphs 19 through
45 as though fully set forth here.
47. The conduct alleged in paragraphs 19 through 45
constitute violations of FACE, 18 U.S.C. § 248(a)(1).
48. Unless restrained by this Court, Defendants will
continue to engage in conduct and practices alleged above or
other conduct that violates FACE.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
49. Unless restrained by this Court, Defendants will
continue to engage in the illegal practices alleged above.
50. The Attorney General is authorized under 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2)(B) to seek temporary, preliminary or permanent injunctive relief, monetary damages and civil penalties
from this Court for violations of FACE.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA prays:
51. For a preliminary and permanent order enjoining and
restraining Defendants, their agents, servants, employees and all
individuals acting in concert with them from committing any of
the following acts or aiding, abetting, directing, or inciting
- Violating any provision of FACE, 18 U.S.C. § 248, anywhere;
- Physically obstructing, interfering with, blocking,
impeding, inhibiting or in any other manner obstructing
ingress into or egress from any building or parking lot
located at CWC;
- Physically abusing, grabbing, intimidating,
threatening, harassing, touching, pushing, shoving,
crowding, or assaulting persons working at or using
services at or entering or leaving CWC;
- Trespassing or otherwise entering upon the property on
which CWC is located, including any parking areas or
driveways or parking areas which are a part of these
- Protesting, picketing, or participating in any other
demonstration within a specified number of feet of CWC.
52. For each Defendant to pay statutory damages as
authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2)(B).
53. For each Defendant to pay civil penalties as authorized
by 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2)(B).
54. For such other and further relief as the Court may deem
just and proper.
/s/ Wilma A. Lewis
WILMA A. LEWIS, United States Attorney, District of the District of Columbia
/s/ Bill Lann Lee
BILL LANN LEE , Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
MEREDITH MANNING, Assistant United States Attorney
555 4th St. NW Rm. 10-108
Washington, DC 20001
D.C. Bar No. 449063
/s/ Steven H. Rosenbaum
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief, Special Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, D.C. Bar No. 417585
/s/ Rebecca E. Epstein
/s/ Robert J. Moossy, Jr.
REBECCA E. EPSTEIN
ROBERT J. MOOSSY, JR.
special Litigation Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66400
Washington, DC 20035
(202) 616-9017 (Epstein)
D.C. Bar No. 456063
(202) 514-6247 (Moossy)