The FBI has denied sending a team of 25 to 30 agents to arrest Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck for allegedly pushing an escort outside a family planning clinic last year.
Outrage ensued among conservatives throughout the weekend when it was reported that the FBI subjected Houck’s children to a fully armored SWAT raid last week under orders from the Justice Department. (DOJ).
Mark Houck, the founder and president of The King’s Men – a group that helps men overcome pornography addiction – was arrested at his rural Pennsylvania home on Friday for allegedly violating the Free Entry Act. (FACE) during his regular sidewalk counseling outside an abortion clinic in 2021. Speaking to LifeSiteNews, Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie, said about 25 to 30 fully armored FBI agents stormed their property early Friday morning, aiming their guns as children screamed in horror.
“They started knocking on the door and yelling for us to open it,” Ryan-Marie said of the raid.
Before opening the door, Mark would have tried to reason with the agents to calm them down in the interests of his children. “Please I will open the door, but please my children are at home. I have seven babies at home,” Houck reportedly told officers.
FBI agents allegedly “kept pounding and screaming,” according to Ryan-Marie.
“They had big, huge guns pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed all over the house,” Ryan-Marie said of the moment her husband opened the door to officers.
“Our staircase is open, so [the kids] were all up the stairs that face the front door, and I was also on the stairs, going down,” she said. “The children were all screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic.
In a statement to Fox News on Sunday, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Philadelphia field office denied that a SWAT team was used to apprehend Mark Houck.
“Inaccurate allegations are being made regarding the arrest of Mark Houck. No SWAT team or SWAT operator was involved. FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck’s front door, identified themselves as FBI agents and asked him to leave the residence. He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment,” the FBI said.
The FBI did not deny that as many as 25 to 30 armored agents were on the scene or that Houck’s children saw the agents pointing guns at their father and mother to arrest him for allegedly pushing someone. one in front of an abortion clinic.
Houck’s wife told Catholic News Agency that a “SWAT team of about 25 people came to my house with about 15 vehicles and started knocking on our door” and they had “about five guns pointed at my husband, myself and mainly on my children”.
Ryan-Marie said her children were “really sad and stressed” following the raid and that she has already “contacted psychiatrists or psychologists to try and help us through this.”
“I don’t really know what will happen when you see guns pointed at your dad and mom in your house when you wake up in the morning,” she told the outlet.
According to Ryan-Marie, the charges stemmed from an incident in which he pushed a pro-abortion activist who was harassing his 12-year-old son outside an abortion clinic during one of his sidewalk counseling sessions. The charges were reportedly “dismissed by the Philadelphia District Court” earlier this year only to be taken up by Merrick Garland’s Justice Department. By LifeSiteNews:
On several occasions when Mark went to see a sidewalk lawyer last year, he took his eldest son, who was just 12 at the time, she said. For ‘weeks and weeks’ a ‘pro-abortion protester’ would talk to the boy saying ‘rude…inappropriate and disgusting things’, like ‘you’re a dad, he’s a fag’, and other statements too vulgar for her. to transmit.
On several occasions, Mark told this pro-abortion man that he did not have permission to speak to his son and please refrain from doing so. And “he kept on doing it and kind of got into [the son’s] personal space” obscenely ridiculing his father. At this point, “Mark pushed him away from his kid, and the guy fell backwards.”
“He wasn’t hurt or anything, but he tried to sue Mark,” and the case was thrown out of court early in the summer.
Local reports told a different story, accusing Houck of pushing the man, a 72-year-old, twice, the second of which required “medical attention”. WHTM reported:
In the first incident, the man was trying to escort two patients out of the clinic when Houck forcefully pushed him to the ground. In the second incident, Houck allegedly confronted the man and pushed him to the ground outside the Planned Parenthood Center, causing injuries that required medical attention.
The report did not mention Ryan-Marie’s claim that the case was dismissed by the district court before the Justice Department dropped the charges.
The FACE law makes it a federal crime to intimidate, harm or interfere with anyone attempting to provide abortion access. US Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said:
Assault is always a serious offense and under FACE law, if the victim is targeted because of their association with a reproductive health clinic, it is a federal crime. Our Office and the Department of Justice are committed to prosecuting crimes that threaten the safety and rights of all individuals.
“Put simply, violence is never the answer,” said Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division. “Violating FACE law by committing physical assault is a serious crime for which the FBI will strive to hold violators accountable.”
Houck could face up to 11 years in prison and fines of up to $350,000 if convicted.