The FBI has released a video and photos of the June 2022 attack on the upstate New York pro-life pregnancy center, CompassCare Pregnancy Services, that shocked pro-lifers across the nation during a string of violent assaults against pregnancy centers country-wide.
The FBI also announced a reward of up to $25,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the arsonists. And in another notable development, the FBI’s press release states that those responsible for the vandalism could be charged with a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances. or FACE Act, which has been used predominantly, if not exclusively, against pro-life activists.
“FBI Buffalo is seeking the public’s help to identify the individuals responsible for the arson of the CompassCare Pregnancy Services Center at 1230 Eggert Road, Amherst, New York, on June 7, 2022,” the announcement says.
The release of the footage and photos comes less than two months after the clinic’s CEO, Jim Harden, announced that he filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order the local police department to provide CompassCare with a copy of the vandalism footage — a resource that he could not get access to just by asking alone.
That lawsuit is still ongoing, he told CNA Monday.
The photos show two masked individuals at the scene during the vandalism. One of the individuals can be seen smashing the windows of the building with an object. One of the individuals can be seen throwing something at the building. Both individuals then flee the scene in a vehicle.
The FBI said that it believes the vehicle to be a 2013-2016 red or orange Dodge Dart sedan. The FBI said that it estimates “suspect 1” to be about 5-foot-11.
The FBI said that the crime, Destruction by Means of a Fire or Explosive, is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, “and potentially,” a violation of the FACE Act. The 1994 federal law applies to alleged crimes committed at abortion clinics, other reproductive health facilities, and places of worship, but it remains an open question if it has ever been used for anything but an abortion clinic case.
The FBI is asking anyone with information regarding the case to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), contact your local FBI office, or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
Harden told CNA on Monday that he is pleased that the FBI released the footage and some photos, although said he was not happy that the release came 161 days following the arson of his clinic. He said he’s skeptical of the FBI, especially given the severe criticism that the organization has received from pro-life lawmakers following a slate of arrests of pro-lifers.
He also said that the footage that was released to the public was edited by the FBI. He said that the license plate of the vehicle is blacked out. He said that the original video is about 1 minute and 30 seconds long. The video released by the FBI is only 18 seconds long.
Harden said that the FBI told him, before the video was released, that it was going to edit the released videos because, he said, “there's key information in the video that they want to withhold from the public so that when they finally do get information leading to an arrest, the lack of information provided in the video can corroborate the testimony given by the person who's giving the information about the perpetrators.”
CNA asked the FBI for comment on the edited video but did not immediately receive a response by time of publication.
CompassCare, now renovated, was one of dozens of pro-life pregnancy centers that was vandalized this past Summer.
Like many other clinics, an alteration of the term “Jane’s Revenge” was left on the clinic after the attack. The term became a calling card of sorts of the pro-abortion vandals after a May leak from the Supreme Court showed that the justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Roe was overturned in June. But the attacks did not stop there. Acts of pro-abortion vandalism have continued on Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers across the nation.
There has not been one reported arrest in any of the more than 50 acts of vandalism on pro-life pregnancy centers.