By Hilary White

OMAHA, April 10, 2007 ( – After deliberating for three hours, a federal court jury on Thursday found Fr. Norman Weslin not guilty of violating the F.A.C.E. Act’s provisions.

The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, passed under the Clinton administration in 1994, forbids the use of “force, threat of force or physical obstruction” to prevent someone from entering abortion facilities. Weslin was accused of having entered the facility. The F.A.C.E. act has come under fire by pro-life activists who say it is used to “suppress and intimidate pro-life demonstrators.”

Fr. Weslin was arrested a year ago when he entered the Bellevue abortion facility run by Dr. LeRoy Carhart, a late term abortionist notorious for his advocacy of partial birth abortion to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fr. Weslin, 76, a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army, is the founder of the pro-life group the Lambs of Christ. In front of Carhart’s abortion facility, Fr. Weslin had knelt in prayer inside a security vestibule but never entered the clinic’s office. His lawyer, Martin A. Cannon, said that while inside he occasionally spoke to women “asking them not to kill their baby,”

“He also spoke to clinic workers telling them not to work at the clinic and that he would help them find other jobs,” Cannon said. “He actually is a kind man, who wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Weslin faced a possible 18 months in a federal prison, three years of probation and a $25,000 fine if convicted.

In 2001, Weslin was convicted of a F.A.C.E. act charge and sentenced to five months in a federal prison. guilty of kneeling in silent prayer in full priestly vestments inside a “60′ Banned Free Speech and Religious Expression Zone” outside a Buffalo abortion facility.

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