A Missouri state court found a pro-life activist not guilty Wednesday after he was accused of making a terrorist threat against a Planned Parenthood employee in 2016.
Following a three-day trial, the jury acquitted John Ryan, who 17 months earlier, had been accused of threatening to bomb a Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood employee Casey Spiegel told authorities Ryan had threatened her as she approached the clinic on Dec. 31, 2016 — he told her there were seven bombs inside the building. Police arrested Ryan and held him for 35 hours before releasing him on bond. (RELATED: Alabama Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselor Wins Case After Getting Thrown In Cuffs)
After Spiegel’s allegations, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed felony charges against Ryan, accusing him of making terrorist threats, but a St. Louis grand jury refused to indict him.
The video of Ryan and Spiegel’s encounter show Spiegel displaying no reaction when she alleges Ryan told her there were bombs in the building.
“Planned Parenthood and prosecutor Kim Gardner’s office branded me a felony terrorist 17 months ago, and that is permanently imprinted on the Internet forever,” Ryan said, according to a Thursday press release.
Planned Parenthood and Alderwoman Megan Green repeatedly cited the charges filed in January 2017 as fire power for a proposed buffer zone bill. “Alderwomen Megan Green and Christine Ingrassia used this so-called terrorist threat as one of the main reasons a buffer zone bill was needed. The campaign to pass the buffer zone ordinance was based on a lie,” Ryan said. (RELATED: Detroit Suburb Settles Lawsuit With Pro-Lifer Who Protests On Public Sidewalks)
The criminal charges deprived him of his “free speech rights [and] was based on bogus allegations by Planned Parenthood that were then advanced by Prosecutor Kim Gardner’s office,” The Thomas More Society Special Counsel Brad Blake said.
“Prosecutor Kim Gardner’s goal was not justice but rather persecution. That is evident because her office persisted with this case after the grand jury refused to indict Mr. Ryan based on insufficient evidence and after he passed a polygraph test,” Blake added.