Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Maryland Man for FACE Act Violation at a Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Richard Retta for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act).
According to court documents, on or about Jan. 8, 2011, Retta physically obstructed a patient and volunteer escorts attempting to enter the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington facility in Washington, D.C., (PPMW). 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.
In its complaint, the United States seeks an order preventing Retta from coming within 20 feet of PPMW’s gate entrance or physically obstructing PPMW patients, staff or volunteer escorts. The complaint also seeks monetary damages and penalties.
“Individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to aggressively enforce FACE against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”
This civil action was filed by the Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Deputy Chief Julie Abbate and Trial Attorneys Aaron Zisser and Michelle Leung.