Former Tennessee Supervisory Corrections Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Offenses After Assaulting an Inmate and Ignoring His Medical Needs
NASHVILLE – A federal jury convicted six defendants today of federal civil rights offenses arising out of their blockade of a reproductive health care clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, on March 5, 2021. The defendants were each convicted of a felony conspiracy against rights and a Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) offense.
According to evidence presented at trial, Chester Gallagher, Heather Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Coleman Boyd, Paul Vaughn and Dennis Green engaged in a conspiracy to prevent the clinic employees from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services, a civil right secured by the FACE Act. As part of the conspiracy, Idoni, Zastrow, Boyd and Green traveled to Tennessee from other states to participate in the clinic blockade, and Gallagher and Vaughn stalled the Mount Juliet Police Department through negotiations that Gallagher referred to as a delay tactic. Evidence at trial further proved that the defendants violated the FACE Act by using physical obstruction to interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient because the clinic was providing, and the patient sought, reproductive health services.
“These defendants are being held accountable for unlawfully obstructing access to reproductive health services,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to enforce the FACE Act to protect the rights of those who provide and those who seek access to such services.”
“These defendants knowingly chose to violate laws they disagreed with,” said United States Attorney Henry C. Leventis. “The jury’s verdict today is a victory for the rule of law in this country and a reminder that we cannot pick and choose which laws we follow. It is also a testament to the outstanding work done in this case by the trial team and our law enforcement partners.”
A sentencing hearing has been set for July 2. The defendants each face up to a maximum of 10 and a half years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $260,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI Memphis Field Office, Nashville Resident Agency investigated the case.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee prosecuted the case.
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Mark H. Wildasin
Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney