Dem who filmed harassment of pro-life teens privately apologized 5 months later, mom reveals
PHILADELPHIA, October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Pennsylvania Democrat who filmed himself berating peaceful pro-life protesters outside of an abortion facility wrote his targets an apology five months after the incident and the girls’ mother says she appreciates the newly revealed note but considers it inadequate.
In May, state Rep. Brian Sims drew national attention by posting a video in which he followed a woman who was quietly walking and praying a rosary outside of a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood. He attempted to shove his phone in her face and repeatedly called her “shameful,” “disgusting,” “racist,” and an “old white lady.”
Another video showed him approaching three girls, who he calls “pseudo-Christian protesters,” and offering “$100 to anybody who will identify these three.” Afterward, he approached a male protester and asked, “What makes you think it’s your job to tell women what to do with their bodies?” But before the man could answer, Sims declared, “The truth is, I’m not really asking, because I don’t care. Shame on you,” and walked away.
The videos sparked widespread outrage among pro-lifers, who in a matter of days organized a pro-life rally outside that Planned Parenthood location on May 10 that drew hundreds of attendees and several prominent pro-lifers, as well as Ashley Garecht, the mother of two of the girls seen in the video. Sims went silent on his social media accounts before releasing an “apology” that expressed remorse for his videos’ negative impact on Planned Parenthood, not for having mistreated pro-lifers in any way.
On Monday, the Daily Caller reported that Garecht shared a hand-written card she received from Sims this month that reads, “I want to reiterate my sincere apologies to you and your family. I regret the harm that I caused and I have learned a great deal from this. I can only ask for your forgiveness and I wish you all the best in the future.”
Garecht told the Daily Caller that her family “forgave Mr. Sims many months ago” and “appreciate(s) that he has begun to accept responsibility for his actions,” but noted that the message’s use of the word “reiterate” implies the existence of a previous apology when Sims’ past statements were not addressed to them, and that he owes the public much more.
“We also know that this card is a far cry from the public accountability that was called for at the Stand Against Bullying Rally back in May,” she said. “Mr. Sims should make a public statement of remorse as an appropriate balance to his video of intimidation and harassment that he proudly publicized to the world via Twitter.
“It is our sincere hope that Mr. Sims will modify his conduct in the future and that he will stand in defense of all citizens who exercise their First Amendment rights in the public square, including those who advocate for life outside of abortion facilities,” Garecht added.
Multiple state Republicans, including Pennsylvania GOP chairman Val DiGiorgio, GOP state Rep. Martina White, and GOP state Rep. Stan Saylor, called for action to be taken against Sims for his conduct at the time. However, he not only remains a member of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House but continues to sit on nearly a dozen committees and caucuses.