Spokane, Washington, Man Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Charges Related to Threats to Reproductive Health Services Clinic
WASHINGTON – Donald Hertz, 70, of Spokane, Wash., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Spokane to one count of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and one count of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to injure, intimidate or interfere with, by force or threat of force, employees of a facility that provides reproductive health services.
During the plea proceedings and in documents filed in court, Hertz admitted that he intentionally intimidated and interfered with employees of the Boulder Abortion Clinic, located in Boulder, Colo., because they were and had been providing reproductive health services. Specifically, on June 23, 2009, approximately three weeks after the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas physician who provided reproductive health services, Hertz anonymously contacted the Boulder Abortion Clinic and stated that two of his associates were driving to Boulder to kill members of a clinic employee’s family in order to make that employee suffer.
"Threats of violence against facilities that provide reproductive health services are illegal, and they will not be tolerated in this country," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The defendant’s conviction should send a clear message to others who would carry out similar criminal acts that they will be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions."
Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 27, 2010. Hertz faces a maximum prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of up to $350,000.
The case was investigated by special agents from the Denver and Spokane Divisions of the FBI and deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington.