Department of Justice Seal


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1998 (202) 616-2777

TDD (202) 514-1888



WASHINGTON, D.C. A Washington State man today pled guilty to taking part in an arson spree involving eight fires at women's health clinics in four western states, the Justice Department announced.

Richard T. Andrews, 60, of Wenatchee, Washington entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, admitting to eight counts of arson for burning clinics in California, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The fires caused nearly $700,000 in property damage, and, including lost income, amounted to more than a million dollars in total losses.

"Women have a constitutional right to seek out reproductive health services, and we are fully committed to protecting that right," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "Today's guilty plea demonstrates that commitment."

Andrews, admitted to the court that beginning in January 1992, he embarked on a campaign to destroy abortion clinics in the western states by setting fires. All of the arsons involved the use of plastic 5-gallon containers filled with gasoline and they all were set in the early morning hours.

"The conviction of Richard Andrews demonstrates once more the Justice Department's resolve to investigate and prosecute those who seek to terrorize reproductive health service facilities, their employees and patients," said Paul Seave, U.S. Attorney in Sacramento. "Andrews' campaign of terror is over. To others who engage in such conduct, the message should go forth--we will find you, and we will prosecute you."

The dates and locations of the arsons were:

the Planned Parenthood Clinic at 1500 Cannon Street, Helena, Montana (1/18/92);

the Feminist Womens Health Center at 1901 Victor Avenue, Redding, CA (6/6/92);

the Blue Mountain Clinic at 715 Kensington, Missoula, Montana (3/29/93);

the Women's Health Care Clinic at 1320 North Garden Street, Boise, Idaho (5/27/93);

the Planned Parenthood Clinic at 556 Vallonbrosa Avenue, Chico, California (10/9/94);

the Feminist Womens Health Center at 1901 Victor Avenue, Redding, CA (10/9/94)

the Armstrong Clinic at 795 Sunset Boulevard, Kalispell, Montana (10/11/94); and,

the Emerg-A-Care Medical Clinic at 974 W. Broadway, Jackson, Wyoming (9/18/95).

Andrews became a suspect after a routine traffic stop in June, 1996, in Vancouver, Washington. His vehicle matched the description of a car leaving the scene of one of the arsons. Police found plastic 5-gallon containers filled with gasoline, addresses of clinics in Fresno and Spokane, and other objects consistent with materials used in all of the eight arsons.

A subsequent investigation found additional evidence suggesting that Andrews committed these crimes. Last May, he was indicted by a grand jury in Sacramento.

Andrews had been a prominent leader of protest blockades at abortion clinics in Washington. In the late 80's and early 90's he was a named defendant in civil proceedings over protests at a group of clinics around the state. Andrews had also been arrested during protests at clinics in Oregon and New York City.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 21, 1998. The court is not a party to the terms of the plea agreement and may tailor the sentence as it deems appropriate. Under the plea, the government and the defendant will recommend a sentence of approximately 7 years.

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