Two people have been charged with federal felony charges for vandalizing the offices of a religious group that offers alternative abortions to pregnant women in Florida, officials announced Tuesday.
Caleb Freestone, 27, and Amber Smith-Stewart, 23, were each charged by a grand jury in Tampa on January 18 with one count of conspiracy against rights and two counts of violating freedom of access to a clinic entrance. was indicted on
of prosecution Opposition to the pair was unsealed on Tuesday, claiming it targeted three so-called pregnancy help centers that offer abortion alternatives, including counseling, pregnancy tests, and ultrasounds.
On May 28, 2022, the two and other unnamed co-conspirators went to one of Hollywood’s Miami Archdiocese-run centers between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, where they spray-painted the threat. . If it’s safe, it’s neither. “
At the time of that alleged attack, the Supreme Court still overturned abortion rights nationwide,But Judge Samuel Alito’s Draft Opinion Leaked It showed they were ready to do so.
“We believe the intent of this vandalism is to frighten and intimidate us,” said Rebecca Brady, Archdiocese of Respect Life Group. Said At the time of the vandalism, the culprit was caught on surveillance footage, which was later shared with police, he added.
Photographs of the vandalism also show anarchist symbols and the words “JANE’S REVENGE”. Radical Abortion Promotion Group Established After Alito’s opinion leaked out.Ah blog Claiming to belong to the Jane’s Revenge group, has praised attacks on what they call “fake clinics,” including clinics in Hollywood.
Two days after final release overturning court decision Law vs Wade On June 24, the two were said to have been among a group that spray-painted another clinic in Winter Haven, east of Tampa. Vandalism included the words “We are everywhere”, “We are coming for you” and “Your time is up!!”.
On July 3rd, they allegedly vandalized another facility in the Miami area of Hialeah with the same threat they left at the Hollywood Infirmary.
“The plot and purpose of the conspiracy was to attack a Reproductive Health Service facility that provides an alternative to abortion. Spray paint threats of force and other threatening messages on the facility premises. They have also harmed, coerced, threatened, and intimidated facility employees, as well as their ability to provide reproductive health services,” the prosecutor wrote in the indictment.
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) is a 1994 law that makes it a federal crime to threaten or obstruct a clinic that provides abortion or other reproductive services.
planned parenthood warned those seeking abortions “Critical pregnancy centers,” such as the one targeted in Florida, “look like actual health centers, but are run by anti-abortion activists who fear, stigmatize, and pressure abortions. have dubious and toxic agendas such as plagiarism, lying about abortion, birth control, and sexual health; “
If found guilty, prosecutors say Freestone and Smith-Stewart could face up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to $350,000.
Archbishop Thomas Wensky of Miami said in a statement to BuzzFeed News, “I applaud our police and judicial system for taking cases of domestic terrorism against pro-life facilities so seriously. This kind of hate crime should not be tolerated.”
Federal court records do not list attorney information for the pair. Smith-Stewart did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to the number listed in court records.