Eleven charged for 2021 blockade of Mount Juliet reproductive health clinic

(Source: MGN)
(Source: MGN)(MGN)
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Eleven people were charged Wednesday with violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act after blocking an entrance to a clinic in Mount Juliet in July. The eleven individuals were charged after a federal indictment was unsealed.

According to court documents, Chester Gallagher, 73, of Lebanon, Tenn.; Heather Idoni, 58; Calvin Zastrow, 57; and Caroline Davis, 24; all of Michigan; Coleman Boyd, 51, of Bolton, Miss.; Dennis Green, 56, of Cumberland, Virg.; and Paul Vaughn, 55, of Centerville, Tenn., were charged with conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act and committing FACE Act violations.

The indictment also charges the following individuals with FACE Act violations: Eva Edl, 87, of Aiken, South Carolina; Eva Zastro, 24, of Dover, Arkansas; James Zastro, 25, of Eldon, Missouri; and Paul Place, 24, of Centerville, Tennessee. All defendants will have appearances scheduled in U.S. District Court in Nashville later.

According to the indictment, beginning in February 2021, Gallagher used social media to promote a series of anti-abortion events scheduled for March 4 to 7, 2021, in the Nashville area. Other co-conspirators then utilized Facebook to coordinate travel and logistics and to identify other participants for the blockade.

On March 4, 2021, Boyd and Gallager advertised the blockade of the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tenn., which was planned for the next day. In the post, Gallagher referred to the blockade as a “rescue.” Boyd also live streamed the clinic blockade on Facebook at 7:45 a.m. on March 5, 2021. The live stream title was “Mt. Juliet, TN Rescue March 5, 2021,” and it showed the event where co-conspirators blocked the clinic’s entry doors and prevented a patient and an employee from entering.

In the live stream, members of the group attempted to engage a patient and her companion as Boyd told his livestream audience that the patient was a “mom coming to kill her baby.”

The indictment further alleges that on March 5, 2021, the 11 individuals, aided and abetted by one another, used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services.

If convicted, those charged with conspiracy face up to 11 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Others face up to one year in prison for the misdemeanor offense and fines of up to $10,000.

Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn posted her reaction on Twitter: