Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, a criminal complaint was unsealed charging Christopher Moscinski with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (the “FACE Act”) for blocking access to a Planned Parenthood of Greater New York health center in Hempstead, New York that provides reproductive health services. Moscinski was arrested today and will make his initial court appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charge.
“The defendant attempted to prevent women from accessing their legal right to vital reproductive and pregnancy services,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office will enforce federal law to protect clinics and staff that provide reproductive health services while safeguarding the rights of their patients. I commend the local police, firefighters and bystanders who came to the health center’s aid to ensure that it could continue serving the community.”
“As alleged, the defendant made repeated attempts to disrupt and deny access to a Planned Parenthood facility in violation of the FACE act. These attempts interfered with the community’s ability to seek reproductive and pregnancy health services, and today’s action should serve as a reminder of the FBI’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
As alleged in the complaint, at 6:22 a.m. on July 7, 2022, Moscinski, a Franciscan friar, arrived at the health center wearing civilian garb. He fastened several padlocks and bicycle locks to the gated entrance of the health center, rendering the entrance impassable. Some of the locks had glue poured into them. After police and fire department personnel arrived at the health center and cut the padlocks, Moscinski returned to the scene wearing a religious robe, and laid his body in front of the gate, blocking vehicles from entering the health center’s parking lot until he was arrested by officers from the Hempstead Police Department.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In 1994, Congress passed the FACE Act in response to an increase in violence toward patients and providers of reproductive health services. The FACE Act prohibits violent, threatening, damaging and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with an individual’s right to seek, obtain or provide reproductive health services. First-time convictions of the FACE Act are misdemeanor violations punishable by up to one year in federal prison. Subsequent convictions are a felony.
Suspected violations of the FACE Act can be reported to the FBI by calling 1-800-225-5324 (1-800-CALL-FBI) or by visiting tips.fbi.gov. If you or someone you know is in danger, call 911.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes and Civil Rights Sections. Assistant United States Attorneys Sophia Suarez and Lauren Bowman are prosecuting the case.
CHRISTOPHER MOSCINSKI (also known as “Fr. Fidelis Moscinski”)
Bronx, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-1052 (SIL)