WASHINGTON – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ordered that John C. Kroack must adhere to a 25-foot buffer zone around a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Clinic in Lynnwood, Wash. The court order is the result of a consent decree entered into by Kroack to resolve a civil complaint filed against him by the United States for violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act). Kroack, a 53-year-old resident of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., will also pay $5,000, with $4,000 suspended assuming that no other violations occur.
The complaint filed by the United States alleged that, on Jan. 7, 2010, Kroack entered the Planned Parenthood clinic’s front door and physically and verbally intimidated the clinic staff, while kicking and throwing his shoulder against a locked door that separated the clinic waiting room from the exam rooms. Kroack refused to leave the clinic until local law enforcement arrived and placed him under arrest. Police subsequently searched Kroack’s vehicle in the clinic parking lot and discovered a machete and several “army-style” bags containing netting, rip cord, tools and camouflage clothing. The FACE Act prohibits the physical obstruction of any person providing or obtaining reproductive health services with the intent to intimidate or interfere with that person.
“Protecting the right to provide or obtain reproductive health services free from the threat of harm, intimidation or physical obstruction is vital to safeguarding the constitutional rights of all Americans,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively enforce the FACE Act against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”
“This resolution protects patients’ right to obtain healthcare services free from threats or intimidation, and it protects healthcare providers’ right to a safe workplace,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
This civil action was filed by the Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Deputy Chief Julie Abbate and Trial Attorney William Nolan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Diaz of the Western District of Washington.