Kathleen Gilbert


Man accused of trying to set Planned Parenthood clinic on fire appears in court

Kathleen Gilbert

Co-authored with John Jalsevac

GRAND CHUTE, Wisconsin, April 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After a bottle containing incendiary chemicals combusted outside a Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Sunday evening, a local man with a history of trouble with the law has been arrested and made his first appearance in court Wednesday to answer to charges of arson.

Fire crews in Grand Chute, Wisc. responded to a fire near a windowsill of the city’s Planned Parenthood on April 1. The device, a bottle containing gasoline, was the source of a fire, which extinguished itself before emergency personnel arrived. The fire reportedly caused minimal damage.

According to a local NBC report, police were at first unsure whether the bottle, which erupted while the facility was closed, was a genuine attempt at violence or “simply someone’s bad idea of an April fool’s prank.”

However, Francis Grady was arrested hours after the incident for driving intoxicated. Police then used surveillance camera footage to identify his van as the same that was outside the Planned Parenthood at the time of the arson, and that was involved in a car accident later in the day. Grady said in court Wednesday he intended to burn the Planned Parenthood facility down.

Grady has a long history of run-ins in the law, having been arrested in the past for manufacturing cocaine, resisting or obstructing a police officer, and skipping out on bail.

“Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?” Grady reportedly asked the judge in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. He later told a reporter that he planted the device because “they’re killing babies there.” 

According to an FBI affidavit, Grady smashed in the window of the Planned Parenthood and poured gasoline into the building before setting fire to his device, lighting his own jacket on fire in the process.

Grady was charged with “arson of a building used in interstate commerce” and “intentionally damaging the property of a facility to provide reproductive health services,” and scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 19.

In announcing the arrest, Teresa Carlson, special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Milwaukee office, said in a statement that, “The FBI will always investigate and bring to justice anyone who resorts to violence as a means to harm, intimidate, or prevent the public’s right to access reproductive health services.”

The event sparked condemnation from every GOP presidential candidate. Former Sen. Rick Santorum said in a statement, “While we can and should work to defund Planned Parenthood and push back against government mandates that force Americans and religious institution to violate their faith, violence against our fellow citizens has no place in a freedom-loving America.”

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