Pro-Lifer Violently Assaulted Outside Abortion Clinic, Police Take Time After Repeat 911 Calls

Thu Aug 23, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST

By Elizabeth O’Brien

  ROCKFORD, Illinois, August 23, 2007 ( - A peaceful pro-life witness was violently assaulted outside an abortion site on Tuesday. Police responded late to his 911 after he was beaten by an unknown visitor to the clinic.

  Early on Tuesday morning August 21, three Rockford pro-lifers, Ken Plez, Pat Brady and Kevin Rilott, were praying quietly in front of the Northern Illinois Women’s Center (abortuary) for an end to abortion. A large white truck pulled into the clinic parking lot, and without setting foot on the clinic property, Rilott approached and tried to talk to the people inside.

  In a detailed account of the event Rilott described how the pro-choice man got out of his truck and approached him, saying, "You shouldn’t be here, you’re upsetting my wife." He then began to hit Rilott in the chest, ribs, and stomach. Rilott did not strike back at the man, but managed to call 911. As he was being beaten, he begged for immediate police assistance.
  He told his pro-abortion attacker that the police were on the way, but the man said he didn’t care. The assaulter also said that "after he bonded out" he would come back and get him. After breaking Rilott’s sign, the man then went into the abortion clinic.

  Meanwhile, ten minutes had passed and there was still no sign of the police. Rilott called again and said, "We just had an assault and the guy who did it is still here." Finally, after a conservative estimate of 20 minutes, a squad car arrived. It was driving within the speed limit without any sirens or lights flashing. By this time, Rilott said, the attacker had already entered the building, talked with the owner Wayne Webster and then driven away.

  When the police arrived, the pro-life witnesses asked an officer to get footage of the event from the clinic surveillance cameras. The officer chuckled, "you know he’ll say he doesn’t have one."  The officer inquired inside the clinic, but Webster said he’d forgotten to start his video camera that morning. Webster claimed, however, that he saw Rilott attack the man with his sign. 

  Rilott asked the officer if "I attacked the guy why did I call 911 three times asking for help" and "why did the guy go in to the safety of the clinic then decide to run away before the police got there?" The officer didn’t say anything (To read the full account of the assault:

  President of Stephenson County Right to Life Eric Nelson, who has worked with Rilott in the past, told that Rilott is a peaceful man of integrity and honesty. He said, "Kevin is probably one of the finest people I know. He is a very generous and forgiving man. He’s a very peaceful person. I don’t know too many people like Kevin, very saintly. He teaches religion at a Catholic school in Rockford, and he also heads up many pro-life activities in Rockford."

  Referring to the assault on Tuesday, Nelson continued, "Where you or I might get really angry, Kevin was very cool and collected and just let the guy vent on him. That’s why I’m even more angry. You get such a gentle person and this happens."

  Rilott also reported that after the incident Wayne Webster, the abortion mill owner, went outside to walk his dogs. He and the assaulter (who returned) mocked the pro-lifers who were still there, saying that the police "won’t do anything".

  Rilott is not as worried about his assault as he is about the poor response of the Rockford Police. "Their response time was frightening," he told He also said that he is definitely going to press charges against his attacker. In addition, "just for the safety of our people," he said, pro-lifers could be forced to take action against the police. He said, "It’s really right now depending on their response. If they show that they care that will be enough."

  He also said in his report, "The Rockford pro-life community is a peaceful, prayerful group of people who obey the law. If Mr. Webster sees that a pro-lifer is assaulted and nothing is done about it, it could be very dangerous for the good Christian people who legally and peacefully pray and work for the end of abortion."

  Patricia Banbridge, director of the Respect Life office for the diocese of Rockford, who contacted the Deputy Chief of Police and is still waiting to hear back, told, "If this had happened to a pro-abortion person down there, it would have been taken care of in no time and would have been all over the media. That’s the truth." contacted the Northern Illinois Women’s Center, but they refused to comment. The Rockford Illinois Police Department did not respond with comments by press time.

  To contact the Rockford Illinois Police and respectfully voice concerns about the case (Case number *124500*):

  Chief of Police
  Chet Epperson
  Rockford Police Department
  420 West State Street
  Rockford, IL 61101-1288
  Phone: (815) 987-5839 or (815) 987-5800
  Fax: (815) 961-3208

  To contact
  Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey:
  425 East State Street
  Rockford, IL  61104
  (815) 987-5590 phone
  (815) 967-6952 fax
  (815) 987-5590 TDD

  To contact Rockford aldermen see:…

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