HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, April 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An elderly woman who allegedly sprayed pro-abortion activists with holy water appeared in court this week to answer to misdemeanor harassment charges.
Joyce Fecteau, who is in her seventies, was arrested outside the facility in January after pro-abortion demonstrators Lisa Cox and Katherine Norlin accused Fecteau of spraying them with an “unknown substance.”
The pair said the incident occurred December 22 on the sidewalk outside the “Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives” abortion business in Huntsville, while they were escorting a woman inside.
Fecteau said that she sprayed the holy water because another one of the pro-abortion demonstrators was burning a “smudge stick” – a bundle of sage and other dried herbs frequently used in New Age, pagan, and Shamanist rituals.
Fecteau said the smoke was billowing into her face.
“I had been told repeatedly by my health care provider not to breathe in that smoke because it’s making me sick,” she said after her arrest. “I can't tell if [the holy water] drifted on this lady's face.”
Video footage of the incident appears to show the pro-abortion protester standing near Fecteau holding the smudge stick. Fecteau is seen pointing her spray bottle at the stick and spraying the water.
Fecteau's attorney, Trent Garmon, told the court that his client “had no intent to annoy, harass or alarm.”
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Cox and Norlin both expressed concerns that they did not know what was in the bottle.
Garmon told the court that in a video of the incident taken by Fecteau's husband, someone can be heard mocking the spraying, saying, “Oh, holy water! It burns!”
The police officer that was called to the scene testified that Fecteau had never displayed agressive behavior while protesting outside the clinic. He said that the pro-abortion protesters had told him they thought the bottle might contain vegetable oil, but that he verified that it was water.
According to WHNT, if convicted Fecteau faces a potential maximum sentence of three months in jail and a $500 fine on each count of harassment.
The case will resume on April 26 at 8:30 am.