Home US News 3 charged in attacking Florida pro-life pregnancy center plead guilty: DOJ

3 charged in attacking Florida pro-life pregnancy center plead guilty: DOJ

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Three Florida residents pleaded guilty on Friday to charges connected to attacks on pregnancy resource centers, including in Winter Park, between May and July 2022.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Caleb Freestone, Amber Smith-Stewart and Annarella Rivera chose to target pro-life reproductive health facilities that provided patients with resources and counseling on abortion alternatives.

Authorities said the defendants vandalized the buildings with threatening messages.

Freestone, Smith-Stewart and Rivera pleaded guilty to conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate employees of the targeted pregnancy resource centers.

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By pleading guilty, the defendants admitted to participating in attacks during nighttime hours, while wearing masks and dark clothing to hide their identities. The suspects then spray-painted the facilities with threatening messages like, “If abortions aren’t safe than neither [sic] are you,” “YOUR TIME IS UP!!,” “WE’RE COMING FOR U” and “We are everywhere.”

“These defendants vandalized pregnancy resource centers with threatening messages meant to terrify the employees of those centers,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said. “Violence and threats have no place in the national discourse about reproductive rights. The Justice Department is committed to holding accountable those who seek to interfere with access to reproductive health services in our country, without regard to the point of view of the defendants or their victims.”

The DOJ announced an indictment against River and Gabriella Oropesa back in March, for engaging in a conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health services facilities from providing those services. The two suspects joined Freestone and Smith-Stewart, who were charged in January, as co-conspirators.

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The messages the suspects left were consistent with those that the far-left group, Jane’s Revenge, took credit for leaving spray-painted on pro-life centers after vandalizing dozens of them following the leaked Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v. Whole Women’s Health case that eventually led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer.

The DOJ said similar facilities in Hollywood and Hialeah, Florida, were also targeted.

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Rivera, along with Freestone and Smith-Stewart, were accused of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act, by using threats of force to intimidate and interfere with the employees pro-life center in Winter Haven that were providing or seeking to provide reproductive health services, and by intentionally damaging and destroying the facility’s property because the facility provides reproductive health services.

The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to use or threaten to use force to “injure, intimidate, or interfere” with a person seeking reproductive health services, or intentionally damage a facility that offers reproductive health services.

Sentencing is scheduled for a later date and all three defendants face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Fox News Digital’s Briana Herlihy contributed to this report.

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