11 anti-abortion protesters face charges in blocking Mount Juliet clinic

  • In US
  • 2022-10-05 23:40:41Z
  • By The Tennessean

Eleven people face federal charges for their role in blocking the entrance of a Mount Juliet reproductive health clinic during an anti-abortion protest in 2021, including a Lebanon man who now faces a separate federal lawsuit for a July 2022 protest at the same clinic.

A federal grand jury indicted the 11 on violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits even temporary interference with reproductive health care services.

The group livestreamed their protest, which they called a "rescue," outside the doors of the Mount Juliet carafem clinic on March 5, 2021, with several members physically blocking a patient and employee from accessing the clinic, according to court documents.

Seven people were charged with conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act and committing FACE Act violations. Those charged include:

∎ Chester Gallagher, 73, of Lebanon, Tenn.

∎ Paul Vaughn, 55, of Centerville, Tenn.

∎ Heather Idoni, 58, of Michigan.

∎ Calvin Zastrow, 57, of Michigan.

∎ Caroline Davis, 24, of Michigan.

∎ Coleman Boyd, 51, of Bolton, Miss.

∎ Dennis Green, 56, of Cumberland, Va.

Conspiracy charges can bring up to 11 years in prison and fines up to $250,00, according to a Department of Justice release.

Also charged as part of the indictment for alleged FACE Act violations were Eva Edl, 87, of Aiken S.C., Eva Zastro, 24, of Dover, Ark., James Zastro, 25, of Eldon, Mo., and Paul Place, 24, of Centerville, Tenn. If convicted, those charged with other FACE Act violations face up to one year in prison for misdemeanor offenses and fines up to $10,000.

Prosecutors allege Gallagher in February 2021 began promoting anti-abortion events scheduled to take place between March 4-7 in the Nashville area. Gallagher and others used Facebook to coordinate travel and logistics for other participants.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by the Civil Rights Coordinator of the U.S. Attorney's Office and trial Attorneys of the Department's Civil Rights Division.

The Mount Juliet clinic has been at the center of several high-profile protest issues, including July 2022 demonstrations that prompted the carafem clinic to file for a federal restraining order against a group of anti-abortion activists, including Gallagher.

In court, carafem argued the July demonstration effectively blocked the doors of the clinic in violation of the FACE Act. Attorneys for some of the activists have argued the group didn't meaningfully obstruct the clinic's doors.

In September, a federal judge barred the 2022 demonstrators from clinic property.

Reach reporter Craig Shoup by email at cshoup@gannett.com and on Twitter @Craig_Shoup. To support his work, sign up for a digital subscription to www.tennessean.com.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Anti-abortion blockade in Mount Juliet leads to charges for 11 people


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