(LifeSiteNews) – A well-known pro-life author, sidewalk counselor, and father of seven was the latest victim of a U.S. Department of Justice-sponsored SWAT raid and arrest — for supposed “FACE Act” violations — at his rural home as his children looked on “screaming.”
According to his wife Ryan-Marie, who spoke with LifeSiteNews, he also drives two hours south to Philadelphia every Wednesday to sidewalk counsel for six to eight hours at two different abortion centers.
UPDATE (01/30/23): Mark Houck has been AQUITTED on both charges!
Thanks be to God LifeSiteNews can report that Mark Houck has been found "Not Guilty" on all counts today.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania spokeswoman and Houck family friend Ashley Garecht said “We rejoice and celebrate that Mark Houck has been found not guilty on all counts.”
“This case was always about a father’s right to protect his son, and never had anything to do with the FACE act,” she said. “We are grateful to the judge for his integrity, and to the jurors for their thoughtful deliberations. We are grateful to Mark’s attorneys who labored so diligently in his defense. And we are grateful for all of those who surrounded and supported Mark and his family in prayer through this challenging ordeal.”
“Most of all we praise and thank God for his protection and provision,” Garecht added. “To Him be all the glory.”
The Thomas More Society is set to hold a press conference today on the 6th street side of the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia.
Monday’s verdict came after a tense weekend wait following a deadlocked jury on Friday.
Several hours into Monday’s deliberations after the jury reconvened, an alternate was chosen to replace one of the jurors. Just before 3:00 p.m. EST, the jury delivered its verdict, acquitting Houck on both charges.
Mark Houck, a pro-life Catholic father of 7, became the latest victim of an FBI raid and arrest on the morning of Friday September 23 — for supposed “FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act” violations — at his rural home as his children looked on “screaming.”
The arrest and raid stems from an altercation with a Planned Parenthood worker.
According to Mark’s wife Ryan-Marie, a “pro-abortion protester” would verbally harrass Mark's 12-year old son — hurling vulgar and derogatory statements.
When the protestor encroached in the boy's space, Mark defended his son. At that point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back,” Ryan-Marie recounts.
The protestor was not injured, but he tried to sue Mark Houck for the assault but his case was thrown out of court in the early summer.
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE LEFT TO HARRASS PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES THIS WAY!
It's vital to stand in solidarity with a pro-family and pro-life man being unjustly persecuted - please SIGN & SHARE our message of support now.
In case you hadn't caught on already, the satanic Biden administration is waging war on Christians. https://t.co/E6ChpZVDYW— Michael (X) Knowles ✊ (@michaeljknowles) September 24, 2022
The description of this arrest sounds like it took place in a totalitarian state. A tragic unraveling of Justice in America. https://t.co/e3vEID7E39— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 25, 2022
If convicted, Houck faces up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000, according to the Justice Department.
Additional conservative pro-life leaders have weighed in — this is why we need your support ASAP.
“Just in the last few days we’ve seen some pretty glaring examples of what appear to be instances of DOJ [Department of Justice] overreach. You’ve got a Catholic father of seven who formed a group designed to encourage young men to be faithful to their commitments, arrested in front of his seven children just recently. You’ve got all these instances of overreach. It’s deeply concerning to us all. These are all things we’re gonna be looking into.” — US Senator Mike Lee
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Ryan-Marie, who is a homeschooling mother, described how the SWAT team of 25 to 30 FBI agents swarmed their property with around 15 vehicles at 7:05 a.m. this morning. Having quickly surrounded the house with rifles in firing position, “they started pounding on the door and yelling for us to open it.”
Before opening the door, she explained, her husband tried to calm them, saying, “‘Please, I’m going to open the door, but, please, my children are in the home. I have seven babies in the house.’ But they just kept pounding and screaming,” she said.
When he opened the door, “they had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house,” Ryan-Marie described.
When they came in, they ordered the kids to stay upstairs. “Our staircase is open, so [the kids] were all at the top of the stairs which faces the front door, and I was on the stairs as well, coming down.”
“The kids were all just screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic,” she explained.
After asking them why they were at the house, the agents said they were there to arrest Mark. When Ryan-Marie asked for their warrant, “they said that they were going to take him whether they had a warrant or not.”
When Ryan-Marie protested, saying that is kidnapping, “you can’t just come to a person’s house and kidnap them at gunpoint,” they agreed to get the warrant for her from one of their vehicles.
At this point, Mark asked her to get him a sweatshirt and his rosaries, but when she returned, they already had loaded him into a vehicle.
They provided the first page of the warrant and said they were taking him to “the federal building in downtown Philadelphia.”
“After they had taken Mark, and the kids were all screaming that he was their best friend, the [FBI agents on her porch] kind of softened a bit. I think they realized what was happening. Or maybe they actually looked at the warrant,” Ryan-Marie explained. “They looked pretty ashamed at what had just happened.”
As a result, the homeschool mother said her kids were “really sad and stressed. So, I’ve already reached out to some psychiatrists or psychologists to try and help us through this. I don’t really know what’s going to come of it when you see guns pointed at your dad and your mom in your house when you first wake up in the morning,” she lamented.
The warrant charged Mark with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, due to a claimed “ATTACK OF A PATIENT ESCORT.”
Ryan-Marie stated this charge comes from an incident that had already been thrown out of the District Court in Philadelphia but was somehow picked up by Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice.
On several occasions when Mark went to sidewalk counsel last year, he took his eldest son, who was only 12 at the time, she explained. For “weeks and weeks,” a “pro-abortion protester” would speak to the boy saying “crude … inappropriate and disgusting things,” such as “you’re dad’s a fag,” and other statements that were too vulgar for her to convey.
Repeatedly, Mark would tell this pro-abortion man that he did not have permission to speak to his son and please refrain from doing so. And “he kept doing it and kind of came into [the son’s] personal space” obscenely ridiculing his father. At this point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back.”
“He didn’t have any injuries or anything, but he tried to sue Mark,” and the case was thrown out of court in the early summer.
Since the Biden administration has taken power in January 2021, Garland’s Department of Justice and the FBI have committed dozens of SWAT team raids that have been characterized as a political “weaponization” of the federal agencies against pro-lifers, Trump supporters, conservative Christians, and medical freedom advocates.
For example, in contrast to left-wing rioters who caused enormous damage in cities across the nation in 2020, and the vandals who have attacked dozens of pro-life centers this year with little or no legal ramifications, the Department of Justice implemented the harshest of consequences for those they identified as having anything to do with the disturbance at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. These actions have included early morning SWAT team arrests, ransacked homes, confiscation of property, indefinite pre-trial solitary confinement without bail in a dedicated D.C. prison, significant physical abuse, and the violation of the Constitutional right to a speedy trial.
In March, the FBI rounded up 10 pro-life activists, including Joan Andrews Bell, with SWAT team raids that serve to intimidate and humiliate the accused through an exercise of excessive force.
A surfaced video of one of these raids shows armed agents holding pro-lifers at gunpoint and ordering them to put their hands up, drop to their knees and scoot backward out their front door in the middle of the night. The pro-lifers are respectful and compliant throughout.
After the FBI’s unprecedented August 8 raid on President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called it “another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents.”
Soon after Joe Biden’s September 1 speech where he declared war on conservative Christians, dozens of Trump allies had their homes raided by the FBI, which Steve Bannon referred to as “a Gestapo tactic,” and said it was “all about intimidation.”
In response to the raid on the Houck residence this morning, however, local pro-life advocates don’t seem to be intimidated, but energized. In addition to sponsoring a fundraiser for this family, they will be holding a prayer rally at the “Philadelphia Women’s Center” abortion facility at 777 Appletree St. from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 24. All are invited to come and pray peacefully and make a financial donation as well.