Eleven Defendants Indicted for Obstructing a Reproductive Health Services Facility in Tennessee
A federal indictment unsealed today charges 11 individuals with violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
Chester Gallagher, Heather Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Coleman Boyd, Caroline Davis, Paul Vaughn, Dennis Green, Eva Edl, Eva Zastrow, James Zastrow and Paul Place were indicted for federal offenses in connection with an alleged reproductive health care clinic blockade in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, on March 5, 2021. Gallagher, Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Boyd, Davis, Vaughn and Dennis Green were charged with a civil rights conspiracy. All 11 defendants were charged with a Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) offense.
The indictment returned by a federal grand jury alleges that Gallagher, Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Boyd, Davis, Vaughn and Green engaged in a conspiracy to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services. According to the indictment, as part of the conspiracy, Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Boyd, Davis and Green traveled to Tennessee from other states to participate in a clinic blockade that was organized by Gallagher, Idoni and others.
The indictment alleges that, beginning in February 2021, Gallagher utilized social media to promote a series of anti-abortion events scheduled for March 4-7, 2021, in the Nashville area. Other co-conspirators then utilized Facebook to coordinate travel and logistics and to identify other participants for the blockade. On March 4, 2021, Boyd and Gallagher advertised the blockade of the Carafem Health Center Clinic, in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, which was planned for the following day. In his social media post, Gallagher referred to the blockade as a “rescue.” Boyd also began a Facebook livestream broadcast of the clinic blockade at 7:45 a.m. on March 5, 2021. This livestream broadcast was titled, in part, “Mount Juliet, Tennessee, Rescue March 5, 2021,” and livestreamed the blockade event as his coconspirators and others blocked the clinic’s entry doors and prevented a patient and an employee from entering. The livestream also broadcast members of the group attempting to engage a patient and her companion as Boyd told his livestream audience that the patient was a “mom coming to kill her baby.”
The indictment further alleges that on March 5, 2021, the 11 individuals, aided and abetted by one another, used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services.
The indictment also alleges that all 11 defendants violated the FACE Act by using physical obstruction to intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because the clinic was providing, and the patient sought reproductive health services. All defendants will have appearances scheduled in U.S. District Court in Nashville at a later date.
If convicted of the offenses, the seven conspiracy defendants each face up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $350,000. The remaining five defendants face a year in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $10,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee made the announcement.
The FBI investigated the case. Trial attorneys of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Civil Rights Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee are prosecuting the case.
Anyone who has information about incidents of violence, threats and obstruction that target a patient or provider of reproductive health services, or damage and destruction of reproductive health care facilities, should report that information to the FBI at www.tips.fbi.gov. For more information about clinic violence, and the Department of Justice’s efforts to enforce FACE Act violations, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/national-task-force-violence-against-reproductive-health-care-providers.
The charges contained in an indictment are merely allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.