The Fight of Their Lives

Page 13 of 23

"I put the Lord above everything--my mother, my family, my children," Scott said. "There are 30 million babies killed in this country...and the Lord wants me out there as a witness."

He wasn't trying to infringe on Scott's free-speech rights or his rights as a parent, the judge replied. Scott could take his kids to church, the judge said, but not to rallies.

Scott refused to budge. The judge terminated all visits with the children.
In early 1993 Scott was hauled back before Judge Michael Bieda to face a contempt-of-court charge for being $9,750 in arrears in child support. Scott argued that he couldn't work because of his injured shoulder. Noting that Scott had a college degree, a real estate license and talent as a home remodeler--not to mention enough physical stamina to enthusiastically picket abortion clinics--Bieda declined to accept that excuse. He sentenced Scott to six months in jail.

While in jail, Scott sued both Judge Bieda and Judge Smith. He also mailed several letters to his children, which Tracy intercepted.

As on all his correspondence with the courts, Scott had written anti-abortion messages on the envelopes addressed to his children: "Abortion Kills Babies!" "Abortion is Murdering Children!" "Judges say, Abortion is OK." "God will Judge the Judges!!!"

More worrisome was what Tracy found inside the envelopes. "I think this summer should be very exciting and interesting," Scott wrote in one letter. "I told...about one option of where we might sneak away for this summer, but if you girls would like to go somewhere else we can trade to that spot. One of the other places I've mention to you girls is Hawaii."

To Tracy, it sounded like Scott was plotting to kidnap them.
By now Scott knew that Tracy was engaged to Bob. But that didn't prevent him from writing: "I pray that mommy starts changing, so she'll try to get along a little bit better. I know it takes time, but God will change her heart, so she'll be good toward me again."

Soon after he got out of jail, Scott appeared at the house to drop off sleeping bags as presents for the girls. When Tracy told him to leave, he spit on her. He didn't care if she called the police, he said; he'd just go preach to the other inmates.

He showed up again the next day. "You're chattel. We're not divorced...you still belong to me."

"Is that a threat?" Tracy asked.
"You can take it any way you want to," he replied. "You will be condemned by God and punished. I have permission from God to ruin you."

He then spit on her again, Tracy told police, and repeated that they were "like Romeo and Juliet."

On June 14 Scott called and said he wanted to send the girls to religious camp. When Tracy replied that they'd already made summer plans, he threatened to come after her.

"I'm going to take the girls, and you better pray for help," he said, according to notes Tracy scribbled during the conversation. "You will be stoned to death for adultery...You will have to battle for your life." She would have to shoot him to stop him, he said.

Tracy again called the police. When a detective contacted Scott and told him about his ex-wife's report that he'd been harassing her, Scott angrily denied threatening Tracy or spitting on her. Scott said he was "not going to make things easy for me," the detective reported, and complained that "the system was unfair and godless."

He was not afraid of going to jail, Scott said several times. As for his child-custody problems, "he said God was leading him to work out the issues without an attorney," the detective noted.

The detective warned Scott that he had to leave Tracy alone. "I can't do that," he replied, "because I want her to repent."

In 1990 Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue and a protege of Scheidler, came to Boulder to "pray" in front of Hern's clinic. As clinic staffers videotaped the event, Terry asked God for Hern to be executed. (The tape would become part of a 60 Minutes broadcast in February 1992.)

Terry's "prayer" frightened Hern more than anything else in the preceding twenty years. These people called themselves pro-life, yet they were asking God--and whoever God appointed to do the dirty work--for his death.

"In reality, Terry is just another fascist demagogue who motivates a lot of vicious people to be violent," says Hern. "He's driven by power and hatred and rage. He claims to be nonviolent but then urges other people, unbalanced people, to kill and destroy." And the Republican Party made it possible, Hern adds.

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Steve Jackson