Over the weekend, pro-life activist Mark Houck was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at his home in Pennsylvania over a charge that had previously been dismissed in court.
In September 2021, the father of seven was praying the rosary outside of an abortion clinic where he allegedly got into an altercation with a 72-year-old man, an escort for Planned Parenthood, who verbally harassed Houck's 12-year-old son.
When Police responded to Planned Parenthood, they filed no charges against Houck and did not arrest him, according to Fox News.
The Philadelphia district attorney declined to take up the case and a criminal claim filed by the 72-year-old was thrown out of court this summer.
Houck, however, is now facing charges under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as FACE following the raid on his home.
“A SWAT team of about 25 came to my house with about 15 vehicles and started pounding on our door,” stated Houck’s wife Ryan-Marie Houck, per the Catholic News Agency. “They said they were going to break in if he didn’t open it. And then they had about five guns pointed at my husband, myself, and basically at my kids.”
The raid comes as Houck's attorney's from the Thomas More Society notified the Biden Justice Department in June that the FACE act doesn't cover one-on-one interactions like the one that took place outside of Planned Parenthood. The DOJ was also notified that Houck would willingly appear if charges were brought, according to LifeNews.com.
“Rather than accepting Mark Houck’s offer to appear voluntarily, the Biden Department of Justice chose to make an unnecessary show of potentially deadly force, sending twenty heavily armed federal agents to the Houck residence at dawn this past Friday,” explained Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen. “In threatening form, after nearly breaking down the family’s front door, at least five agents pointed guns at Mark’s head and arrested him in front of his wife and seven young children, who were terrified that their husband and father would be shot dead before their eyes.”
“This case is being brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans,” the attorney continued, adding. “Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court.”
“If the facts as the government alleged them to be are true, that Houck essentially engaged in two incidences of simple assault against this so-called escort,” explained Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Cully Stimson to Fox News. “I'm baffled that it would take the United States Department of Justice, where I used to work as a prosecutor, 337 days from the incident to the indictment, to prosecute somebody for two counts of a simple assault misdemeanor.”
“This is a loser case. And here's the strange thing about it. In the federal government, when you bring an indictment, you have to have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. That's the standard,” Stimson continued, adding, “And I think there are very real factual questions that raise the issue of self-defense. And then there's a statutory question of whether this so-called escort even falls within the FACE Act. And so I don't think there's a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits.”
The Justice Department's overreach on this case potentially showcases their increasing resolve to target conservative Americans. Houck is now facing a maximum sentence of 11 years in jail, three years of supervised release, and fines up to $350,000.
“This stinks to high heaven,” Stimson concluded. “And it is something that the Congress now should be asking the Justice Department about.”
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