By Cheryl Sullenger
St. Louis, MO – A pro-life activist who was wrongly accused and charged with making a terrorist threat at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in St. Louis, Missouri, has been found not guilty by a jury yesterday and is now completely cleared of any wrong-doing.
John P. Ryan was falsely accused by Planned Parenthood worker Casey Spiegel of having told her there were seven bombs inside the abortion business on December 31, 2016. He was arrested by police on the scene and held for 35 hours until he was finally released on bond.
Despite the fact that a 2017 grand jury had declined to indict Ryan, city prosecutors insisted on trying him.
After a three-day trial, the jury deliberated just an hour on May 23, 2018, before returning their “not guilty” verdict.
The dubious prosecution appeared to be politically motivated. Ryan’s case was used repeatedly by Planned Parenthood and others to support a so-called “buffer zone” aimed at keeping pro-life activists from reaching out to abortion-bound women.
“Alderwomen Megan Green and Christine Ingrassia used this so-called terrorist threat as one of the main reasons a buffer zone bill was needed. The campaign to pass the buffer zone ordinance was based on a lie,” said Ryan in a statement.
Brad Blake, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society represented Ryan. He noted, “This criminal charge, with its attendant bond restrictions that keep John away from the Planned Parenthood facilities, succeeded in muzzling him and depriving him of his First Amendment rights to use the public sidewalk, as he had for years previously, to voice his pro-life message. This deprivation of his free speech rights was based on bogus allegations by Planned Parenthood that were then advanced by Prosecutor Kim Gardner’s office. . .Prosecutor Kim Gardner’s goal was not justice, but rather persecution. That is evident because her office persisted with this case after the grand jury refused to indict Mr. Ryan based on insufficient evidence and after he passed a polygraph test.”
“It is obvious that Planned Parenthood needed a scapegoat in order to provide an excuse to enact a buffer zone, so they set up John Ryan to take the fall,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Planned Parenthood was obviously in cahoots with a corrupt prosecutor, or this case would have been dismissed long ago. We hope Mr. Ryan considers suing the City of St. Louis, Planned Parenthood, and its employee who lied about him in the first place and denied him his rights and freedom, and nearly destroyed his good reputation. This corruption and injustice must not be allowed to stand.”
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