(LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life priest and Red Rose Rescuer was arrested by the FBI yesterday and charged with violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).
The incident which led to the charges against Fr. Fidelis Moscinski took place on July 7 in Hempstead, New York. There the priest blocked the entrance to a Planned Parenthood facility by placing six locks and chains on the gates, as previously reported by LifeSiteNews. He lay on the ground in the driveway and went limp as police officers carried him away. He was charged with disorderly conduct for “obstructing vehicular traffic.”
However, yesterday’s charges were escalated to a potential violation of the FACE Act.
“As alleged in the complaint, at 6:22 a.m. on July 7, 2022, Moscinski, a Franciscan friar, arrived at the health center wearing civilian garb,” a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office in New York states. “He fastened several padlocks and bicycle locks to the gated entrance of the health center, rendering the entrance impassable. Some of the locks had glue poured into them.”
“After police and fire department personnel arrived at the health center and cut the padlocks, Moscinski returned to the scene wearing a religious robe, and laid his body in front of the gate, blocking vehicles from entering the health center’s parking lot until he was arrested by officers from the Hempstead Police Department.”
The statement maintains that “the charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”
For the past three months, the priest has been serving a jail sentence for another rescue he conducted in White Plains, New York.
Christopher Bell of Good Counsel, a ministry to support homeless, pregnant women and support men and women after abortion, spoke to LifeSiteNews today about Fr. Fidelis’ arrest.
“He was being released in the morning [yesterday], and I got a call from him about 8:00 a.m. saying that the FBI have shown up, they are taking him into custody, and they are charging him with FACE [violations] related to an incident at Planned Parenthood in Hempstead, New York,” Bell told LifeSiteNews.
Bell has worked with Fr. Moscinski through Good Counsel.
“At that time, he was not charged with putting those locks on there because they couldn’t see from the security cameras exactly who did it,” Bell said. “It was some man in a hoodie that showed up and did it…. That’s all the police said.”
Bell said that Fr. Moscinski has been “released…on his own recognizance. I was told the prosecutor wanted an ankle bracelet, wanted him under house arrest, wanted to give him a thousand feet stay-away order,” he added.
“He’s obviously free on his own, walking around, without an ankle bracelet…to continue to exercise his First Amendment rights.”
LifeSiteNews contacted the United States Attorney’s Office for further details on the restrictions placed on Fr. Moscinski by the judge but has not yet received a response.