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.
I.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 60540.
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 36116.
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 the clinic.
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 protesters arrived.
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 main entrance.
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 warning.
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 back gate.
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 the police.
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 hazardous.
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.
V.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 others from:
- 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 properties; and,
- Protesting, picketing, or participating in any other demonstration within a specified number of feet of CWC.
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.
Trial Attorneys 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) >