Indiana Man Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Posting Online Threats of Violence at Women’s Reproductive Clinics
CHICAGO — An Indiana man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for threatening to commit violence at women’s reproductive health services clinics in Chicago and northwest Indiana.
LUKE DANIEL WIERSMA, 35, of Dyer, Ind., pleaded guilty last year to posting online threats of violence on at least seven occasions in October and November of 2017. Wiersma submitted the threats through the clinics’ websites. The clinic in Chicago provided reproductive health services, while the clinic in Hammond, Ind., provided counseling services related to women’s reproductive health.
U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah imposed the sentence Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Indianapolis, Ind., Field Office of the FBI and the Dyer, Ind., Police Department provided valuable assistance. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly M. Greening and Georgia N. Alexakis.
“The defendant’s transmission of numerous death threats to the Chicago clinic and the Hammond clinic is an extraordinarily serious offense that threatens public safety and terrorizes both medical communities and the women who utilize reproductive health clinics,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly M. Greening argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “These types of threats have a significant, lasting impact on the lives of many, including the employees and volunteers of the clinics and the patients who visit the clinics for medical care.”
In one of the threats transmitted to the Chicago clinic on Oct. 29, 2017, Wiersma stated, “I will do anything and everything to stop the unmitigated murders of fetuses. I will do anything to stop the atrocities committed by your clinic every minute of every day at your clinic. You are all pieces of [expletive] and I will kill to stop these atrocities. I will blow you up if I have to, burn the clinic down. I will do whatever is necessary I swear to God I will. After that you are in God’s hands and He will do His thing.”