COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The abortion facility volunteer who almost ran over a Catholic priest with her car while fleeing the scene after attempting to steal pro-life signs has filed for a restraining order against the priest.
In a move pro-life advocates say is part of a concerted tactic by the abortion lobby, Michelle Davis filed for a civil stalking protection order against Father Joseph Klee, a priest of the Diocese of Columbus, in June.
Her petition was initially denied. But then she was granted a hearing that took place on Tuesday this week. Lawyers from the Thomas More Society who are representing Fr. Klee were granted permission from the magistrate to obtain evidence for their case. The next hearing is scheduled for September 28 in Franklin County civil court.
Pro-life advocate Mark Wolf, who filmed the abortion activist nearly running over the priest in April, called Davis’ claims against Father Klee “outrageous and false.”
“The abortion industry is using bullying and intimidation tactics to scare people away from witnessing against abortion and/or traditional marriage,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Wolf is not alone in that thought.
Created Equal’s National Director Mark Harrington echoed Wolf’s concerns, as did President and Chief Counsel for Thomas More Society Thomas Brejcha.
“There is a national effort by NARAL [pro-abortion group] to tie up pro-life advocates in court with frivolous charges like the ones leveled against Father Klee,” Harrington told LifeSiteNews.
“We need to be on our guard and be prepared to fight back and defend our right to protest abortion-killing despite these intimidation tactics,” he added.
Brejcha, who was in court Tuesday with two local Thomas More attorneys representing Father Klee, told LifeSiteNews that pro-abortion activists are using the “anti-stalking law as a weapon against sidewalk counselors.”
He called such tactics an unconstitutional abuse of laws that were originally designed to protect women in imminent danger of domestic violence. He said trying to put a restraining order on the priest was an outright attempt to take advantage of the legal system to squelch pro-life speech.
It’s been an effective tactic, Brejcha said, noting how Thomas More Society has defended clients in at least four other instances in recent years.
“They’re vicious,” Brejcha said. “We’ve really got to keep our eyes open and be watchful and take steps in a systematic way to counteract this.”
Brejcha said they’re targeting Father Klee because he is a figurehead for the local pro-life and marriage community.
“It’s a very important case,” Brejcha told LifeSiteNews. “It will be aggressively defended.”
Davis is the abortion escort who tried to steal pro-life signs at an April 8 pro-life vigil outside Founder’s Women’s Center in Columbus. She stuffed them in her minivan and attempted to flee the scene.
As Father Klee and Wolf tried to intercept her, Father Klee was struck by Davis’ vehicle while she fled. Father Klee’s injuries required treatment at the scene and in the ER. Wolf was able to retrieve the signs before she absconded, and the incident was captured on video.
She faces one count of criminal mischief and one count of disorderly conduct for the attempted theft.
The Columbus City Attorney, however, declined to charge Davis with assaulting Father Klee, giving as the reason, “There is insufficient evidence to support probable cause.”
The priest has appealed that decision.
Davis’ lawyer entered not guilty pleas on the criminal charges earlier this month, and the criminal case is set for a jury trial August 28.
“I don't know what defense this lawyer will use to justify stealing the signs on April 8,” said Wolf.
Davis states in her petition against Father Klee:
“Joseph Klee has harassed me outside of the clinic (Founders Women’s Health Center) where I volunteer. He has called me a “baby killer,” and he and his friends laughed about taking and break my camera and he attacked my car and tried to open my door while I was driving (all of these incidents are recorded on video). He has given interviews about me where my personal information has been published and several people he was with in a demonstration assaulted myself and people was with – punching, pushing into the street, throwing holy water on us.”
Wolf says the reality is that Davis attempts to harass pro-life activists by pointing cameras at them, barging into them and flopping her body on the ground as if she was tripped or pushed.
Wolf provided a photo to LifeSiteNews of a selfie Davis took with him and Father Klee as they prayed along with a local family outside Planned Parenthood in East Columbus. Wolf said the photo was taken 20 days after the April 8 sign theft incident.
“That should give an idea who the real stalker might be,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Davis does not appear to act like someone being stalked by the person she is including in her selfie.”
The abortion movement’s bullying and intimidation tactics to scare people are a common thread in these incidents, he said.