by WorldTribune Staff, November 12, 2023
Pro-life activist Mark Houck and his wife Ryan-Marie Houck are suing the Biden administration, seeking $4.3 million in damages after heavily armed FBI agents stormed their home and arrested Mark Houck as his children watched in horror.
A SWAT team of 25 to 30 FBI agents swarmed the rural Pennsylvania home of pro-life author in September 2022 and arrested Mark Houck.
Houck, the founder and president of The King’s Men, which promotes healing for victims of pornography addiction and promotes Christian virtues, was charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), due to a claimed “attack of a patient escort.”
Mark Houck is seeking $1.1 million in damages for malicious and retaliatory prosecution, false arrest, abuse of process, and assault.
Ryan-Marie Houck is suing for $3.25 million for severe emotional and physical distress that culminated in three miscarriages she said were triggered by the “stress of the FBI’s conduct and resulting prosecution,” according to the notice of claim filed with the DOJ’s torts branch.
“The stress of these events has taken an immense toll on her body — such a significant toll that she had three miscarriages from the stress,” said the notice. “Doctors have now diagnosed her with infertility. So alongside the trauma, paranoia, and anxiety she has suffered, she now carries the grief of losing three children and the pain of infertility.”
Mark Houck was charged last year with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act for allegedly pushing a Planned Parenthood volunteer in October 2021 after the man confronted him twice and yelled at his 12-year-old son as they engaged in sidewalk counseling for a nearby pro-life pregnancy center.
The man who accused Houck filed a complaint, but local authorities declined to prosecute. A Philadelphia jury acquitted him of the federal charges in January.
“Upon information and belief, the purpose of the prosecution was to punish and chill speech and religious exercise by Mr. Houck and other pro-life advocates and volunteers for pro-life clinics, which senior leadership at the Department of Justice viewed as ‘predatory,’ unworthy of FACE Act and constitutional protection, and indeed, necessary to punish,” said the 28-page claim.
Houck’s wife told LifeSiteNews that the FBI agents arrived at 7:05 a.m. in 15 vehicles and quickly surrounded the house in rural Bucks County 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 said.
Handling the Houcks’ case is the Institute for Law and Justice at 40 Days for Life, a pro-life group for which Houck has volunteered since 2007.
Shawn Carney, CEO of 40 Days for Life, said Houck’s arrest was “not just a horrible day for Mark Houck. It was a bad day for America. It was a bad day for you and your family. It was a bad day for me and my family,” he said in a video post. “Because the abuse of our federal government is at an all-time high. The new blatant bigotry and hatred that the DOJ has for pro-life Americans and for Catholic Americans is a recent and dangerous phenomenon.”
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