Jo Scott is the truest of believers when it comes the fight against abortion rights -- so much so that she's repeatedly violated both state and federal laws designed to protect clinic visitors. But the level of harassment will presumably be modified now that a settlement with the Justice Department calls for payments to two victims and a permanent enjoinder against using force or the threat of it to hassle clients.
It's been a busy year for Scott from a legal standpoint. Back in April, she was found guilty of violating the state's bubble law, which prohibits anti-abortion types from coming within eight feet of anyone in a hundred-foot radius of a clinic without their okay. And she couldn't claim not to have understood this rule. In 2008, around the time she appeared in our 2008 feature "Planned Parenthood's Scheme to Bust Abortion Protesters," she received a 180-day suspended sentence for the same offense.
June brought with it another dose of the same medicine. According to Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough, Scott's sentence of 180 days in Denver County Jail was suspended in lieu of two year's probation and 100 hours of community service. However, she appealed the decision. At this point, there's no finite time frame regarding a ruling about her actions.
That same month, however, the Justice Department filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court against Scott and her husband, fellow protester Kenneth, for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as the FACE Act. And the complaint, accessible at this link and on view below, supports its allegations with a slew of incidents from August 2009 to this year at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Denver.
As we've reported, Kenneth is said to have walked or stood in the facility's driveway on numerous occasions to either prevent clients from coming or going without confronting him. And that's not to mention verbal abuse aimed at PPRM staffers -- terms of endearment cited include "murderer" and "baby killer."
The list of Jo Scott-related incidents is similar -- but one on June 9, 2010 stands out because of the implication that even Kenneth felt she'd gone too far. The document says a person who had accompanied a client to PPRM was standing on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette, when the Scotts began screaming that God hated him, among other pleasantries. The guy tried to away, but Jo allegedly poked him in the back, and when he turned around, she pushed him in the chest. At that point, Kenneth physically restrained Jo, but she tried to wrestle free and go after the man again.
The document requested relief that included fines of up to $15,000 each -- but the amount in the settlement is far smaller. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. District Court in Colorado has ordered that Scott "be permanently enjoined from using force, threat of force or physically obstructing any person because that person is or has been obtaining or providing reproductive health services." Moreover, Scott has been ordered to pay $750 apiece to the victim in the June 2010 incident and a patient she encountered the previous April.
The Scotts' disposable income could take another hit soon. The suit against Kenneth is still pending. See the June complaint against the pair below.
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