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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WESTERN DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff

v.

OPERATION RESCUE NATIONAL, an unincorporated association, PHILIP BENHAM, RUSTY L. THOMAS, BRYAN S. KEMPER, DAVID MEHAFFIE, JAMES F. ANDERSON, FRANK L. BALTES, ROGER L. HALL, HEATHER F. MECHANIC, OLIVIA A. ALAW, and numerous other individuals, currently known as JANE and JOHN DOES, Defendants

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA alleges that:

1. The Attorney General files this civil action on behalf of the United States of America pursuant to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), 18 U.S.C. § 248. In bringing this Complaint, the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that three reproductive health care facilities

-- Women's Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Women's Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio, and Dayton Women's Services in Dayton, Ohio -- their employees and persons seeking reproductive services at these facilities have been and may continue to be injured by conduct constituting violations of FACE. The United States files this Complaint to ensure that Defendants are enjoined from committing future violations of FACE and that statutory damages and civil penalties, as provided for under FACE, are imposed on Defendants for their violations of the Act.

I.

JURISDICTION, STANDING AND VENUE

2. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, and over the out-of-state Defendants pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2307.382(A)(3) (Banks-Baldwin 1988).

3. The United States is authorized to initiate this action pursuant to FACE, 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2).

4. Venue in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). The claims set forth in this Complaint all arose in this judicial District.

II.

DEFENDANTS

5. Defendant OPERATION RESCUE NATIONAL ("Operation Rescue"), on information and belief, is an unincorporated association, located at 10935 Estate Lane, Dallas, Texas 75238.

6. Defendant PHILIP ("FLIP") BENHAM, on information and belief, resides at 621 Dawn Drive, Garland, Texas 75040, and is the Director of Operation Rescue.

7. Defendant RUSTY L. THOMAS, on information and belief, resides at 2123 Colcord, Waco, Texas 76707, and is affiliated with Operation Rescue.

8. Defendant BRYAN S. KEMPER, on information and belief, resides at 1622 Southeast Harney, Portland, Oregon 97202, and was at one time affiliated with Operation Rescue California.

9. Defendant DAVID MEHAFFIE, on information and belief, resides at 542 Santa Cruz Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45410.

10. Defendant JAMES F. ANDERSON, on information and belief, resides at 1401 South Moore, Spokane, Washington 99203.

11. Defendant FRANK L. BALTES, on information and belief, resides at 3648 State Route 66, Houston, Ohio 45333.

12. Defendant ROGER L. HALL, on information and belief, resides at 5010 Mark Trail, Birmingham, Alabama 35242.

13. Defendant HEATHER F. MECHANIC, on information and belief, resides at 13040 Cree Drive, Poway, California 92064.

14. Defendant OLIVIA A. ALAW, on information and belief, resides at 12407 Meadowcrest Lane, Balch Springs, Texas 75180.

15. Defendants Jane and John Does, whose names and addresses are unknown to plaintiff, are individuals who participated in the conduct described herein at Paragraphs 22-36.

III.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

16. The Women's Medical Center of Cincinnati, located at 3219 Jefferson Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio (the "Cincinnati clinic") is a facility that provides gynecological services to women, including outpatient surgeries.

17. The Women's Medical Center of Kettering, located at 1401 East Stroop Street, Kettering, Ohio (the "Kettering clinic") is a facility that provides gynecological services to women, including outpatient surgeries.

18. The Dayton Women's Center (the "Dayton clinic"), located at 1829 North Main Street, Dayton, Ohio, is a facility that provides gynecological services to women, including outpatient surgeries.

19. Individuals visit the Cincinnati, Kettering and Dayton clinics to obtain medical, surgical, counseling or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including services relating to the termination of pregnancy.

20. Between July 13-19, 1997, Operation Rescue organized and directed a week-long campaign protesting abortion in the Cincinnati/Dayton area entitled "The Return to Truth."

21. "The Return to Truth" campaign included daily "street activities" at local reproductive health clinics. These street activities took place at various clinics throughout the week.

22. On July 14, 1997, approximately 40 Jane and John Doe Defendants, led by Defendants Thomas, Kemper and Mehaffie, physically obstructed access to the Cincinnati clinic.

23. Beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m., Defendants entered onto the Cincinnati clinic's property and stood or sat in front of the clinic's two public entrances.

24. Defendants blocked the entrances to the Cincinnati clinic in this manner for approximately one hour, dispersing only after local police arrived in large numbers. Defendants had previously ignored an order to leave the premises read to them by the clinic director, who was accompanied by the Cincinnati Police Chief.

25. Through their conduct, Defendants physically obstructed the Cincinnati clinic by rendering access to the clinic impassible or unreasonably difficult or hazardous.

26. Through their conduct, Defendants intentionally interfered with or attempted to interfere with Cincinnati 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.

27. On July 15, 1997, over 100 Jane and John Doe Defendants physically obstructed access to the Kettering clinic. On information and belief, the group was led by Defendants Thomas, Kemper, Mehaffie, Anderson and Benham.

28. Beginning at approximately 12:45 p.m., Defendants entered onto the Kettering clinic's property and sat in front of the clinic's three public entrances, two in front and one in back.

29. Defendants blocked the entrances to the Kettering clinic in this manner for approximately 1-1/2 hours, dispersing only after local police began arresting the blockaders. Defendants had previously ignored an order to leave the premises read to them by the police.

30. Through their conduct, Defendants physically obstructed the Kettering clinic by rendering access to the clinic impassible and unreasonably difficult or hazardous.

31. Through their conduct, Defendants intentionally interfered with or attempted to interfere with Kettering 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.

32. On July 16 and 18, 1997, over 200 Jane and John Doe Defendants physically obstructed access to the Dayton clinic. On information and belief, the group was led by Defendants Thomas, Kemper, Mehaffie, Anderson and Benham.

33. On both July 16 and 18, 1997, Defendants blocked or impeded access to the front and back entrances of the Dayton clinic by standing and sitting in the alley leading to the clinic's back entrance, and standing or sitting along and on the entire front edge of the clinic's property, including the sidewalk leading to the clinic's other entrance.

34. On July 16, 1997, Defendants blocked and impeded access to the Dayton clinic in this manner for almost the entire day. On July 18, 1997, Defendants blocked access to the clinic for almost the entire afternoon.

35. Through their conduct, Defendants physically obstructed the Dayton clinic by rendering access to the clinic unreasonably difficult or hazardous.

36. Through their conduct, Defendants intentionally interfered with or attempted to interfere with Dayton 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.

IV.

CAUSES OF ACTION FOR VIOLATIONS OF 18 U.S.C. § 248

37. Plaintiff realleges and repleads paragraphs 16 through 36 as though fully set forth here.

38. The conduct alleged in paragraphs 22 through 36 constitute violations of FACE, 18 U.S.C. § 248(a)(1).

39. Unless restrained by this Court, Defendants will continue to engage in conduct and practices alleged above or other conduct that violates FACE.

V.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

40. The Attorney General is authorized under 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2)(B) to seek both permanent and preliminary injunctive relief, statutory damages for persons aggrieved by violations of FACE and civil penalties.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court:

1. Issue preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining and prohibiting Defendants, their agents, employees and all individuals acting in concert with them from:

a. blocking, impeding, inhibiting or obstructing in any way access to the Cincinnati, Kettering and Dayton clinics, including access to the streets, alleys and sidewalks that lead to these clinics;

b. being located on or within a specified distance of the private property of the Cincinnati, Kettering and Dayton clinics;

c. being located within a specified distance of the entrance(s) to the alley(s) that lead to the Dayton clinic's property or being located anywhere in the alley(s); and

d. violating, or aiding, abetting or inciting others to violate, the provisions of the FACE, 18 U.S.C. § 248, anywhere.

2. Grant statutory damages against Defendants as authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2)(B).

3. Assess civil penalties against Defendants as authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 248(c)(2)(B).

4. Grant such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

JANET RENO, Attorney General of the United States

SHARON F. ZEALEY, United States Attorney, Southern District of Ohio
BILL LANN LEE, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division

DALE A. GOLDBERG, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Civil Division
220 Potter Stewart Courthouse
100 East 5th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 684-3711

STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief, Special Litigation Section
MELLIE H. NELSON, Deputy Chief, Special Litigation Section

PAMELA K. CHEN
REBECCA E. EPSTEIN
Trial Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
Post Office Box 66400
Washington, D.C. 20035
(202) 514-6261
(202) 616-9017

General Information Special Litigation Section
 
Leadership
Jonathan M. Smith
Chief
Contact
Special Litigation Section
(202) 514-6255
toll-free at (877) 218-5228

FAX - (202) 514-0212
Alt. FAX - (202) 514-6273
Email - Special.Litigation@usdoj.gov
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