FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES FOUR INDIVIDUALS FOR BLOCKING ACCESS TO A NORTH DAKOTA CLINIC AND INTIMIDATING ITS STAFF WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Three North Dakota residents and a Minnesota resident who allegedly blocked a women's health clinic in Fargo or followed members of its staff were sued today by the Justice Department under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). In its complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo, the Justice Department alleged that Ronald D. Shaw of North Dakota, Timothy Lindgren of Minnesota and a group of other unidentified persons blocked access to the Fargo Women's Health Organization in November 1994, by constructing a barrier made of cars and scrap metal. It alleged that Shaw and Lindgren locked themselves to the cars so that the vehicles could not be moved without injuring them. The complaint also alleged that Kathy Kirkeby and John B. Brennan of North Dakota as well as Lindgren have intimidated members of the clinic's staff by continuously following, chasing or shouting at them. In June 1994, it also alleged that Brennan attempted to enter and created a disturbance at the clinic administrator's home at 3:00 AM. Although he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to stay 100 feet from the administrator, Brennan allegedly has violated the court order on several occasions. Today's suit is the fourth civil action filed under the law signed by President Clinton in May of 1994. The law forbids anyone from using force, threat of force or physical obstruction to injure, intimidate or interfere with a person obtaining or providing reproductive health services. It allows the Justice Department to ask a court to prevent people from blocking clinics and harming health care providers who provide reproductive health services. The Justice Department seeks a federal court order preventing the defendants from violating FACE or coming within 200 feet of the clinic, its employees or their family members. It also seeks statutory damages of $5,000 for each aggrieved person and civil penalties up to $10,000 for the first offense. Violations of a court order could subject the defendants to an array of criminal and civil penalties. "Congress passed the clinic entrance law to protect women's constitutional rights to reproductive health services," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. "We intend to vigorously enforce the law." Two weeks ago the Justice Department obtained a federal court order restraining a woman from coming within 500 feet of a clinic in Kansas City and asked another federal court in Cleveland to prevent an Ohio man from threatening a doctor that provides health care services in the midwest. Last month the Justice Department asked permission to enter into an existing civil suit filed under FACE by a clinic in Milwaukee against eight persons who blocked the entrance. In November, a federal court, using the criminal provisions of the law for the second time, convicted six of the individuals. A second

case in which a group of individuals blocked another Milwaukee clinic is scheduled for trial later this month. In October 1994, the Justice Department obtained the first criminal conviction under FACE, when a federal jury convicted Paul Hill of killing a doctor at a Pensacola, Florida clinic. Hill was later sentenced to die in the electric chair following his state conviction. # # # 95-031