The Epoch Times reported on Nov. 9 that Mark Houck and his wife Ryan-Marie filed lawsuits against the DOJ on Nov. 6. The couple is seeking damages for assault, false arrest, abuse of process, malicious and retaliatory prosecution and "intentional infliction of emotional distress." The Houcks, parents to seven children, are seeking $4.35 million in collective damages.
In October 2021, Mark was involved in an altercation with an elderly Planned Parenthood clinic escort after the latter hassled the pro-life activist's son. Local authorities chose not to press charges, but the DOJ charged him with two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act prohibits violent and threatening conduct intended to interfere with an individual’s right to "seek, obtain or provide reproductive health services."
On Sept. 23, 2022, a group of heavily armed FBI agents raided the Houcks' home in East Greenville, Pennsylvania to arrest Mark. The agents reportedly pointed their weapons at Ryan-Marie and some of the Houck children, an act the lawsuit describes as meant to inflict emotional distress. In January of the following year, a jury acquitted Mark of the charges – but the incident left lasting marks on him and his family.
The complaints stated that the Houcks continue to suffer "severe emotional distress" over the ordeal.
Mark lost income and business opportunities following the arrest, and his family has suffered lasting wounds. Ryan-Marie suffered three miscarriages because of the ordeal – and both husband and wife "are now infertile as a result." Their children now suffer from anxiety and sleep problems and have developed deep-seated fears of police, unannounced visitors and losing their parents.
"These government agents intentionally sought to assault [Mark] and deprive him of his Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force to arrest him on non-violent charges – when he had not threatened law enforcement; did not own a gun; and had offered to turn himself in to authorities if indicted," one of the complaints stated.
"[Mark] finds it important to be strong for [his] family," stated another complaint. "But carrying his own emotional burden, alongside the grief and fear of his wife and seven children, has taken an enormous toll on [him]."
Moreover, Mark also pointed out that the indictment against him was riddled with factual errors and false statements. This could only have been adopted by a grand jury, he added, if the DOJ had maliciously presented the facts or concealed critical and material information.
"This is more than just a lawsuit," said 40 Days for Life President and CEO Shawn Carney. "It's a resounding declaration that the era of targeting individuals for their pro-life stance is over."
Carney added that his group, for which Mark has volunteered, also represents the Houcks in this complaint. 40 Days for Life has always cooperated with federal law enforcement, but that dynamic "shifted dramatically" in the wake of the Supreme Court's reversal of the Roe v. Wade ruling.
"Mark's home was besieged at gunpoint – an appalling show of force that was completely unwarranted," Carney commented. "The local authorities saw no crime, yet the DOJ sought to make an example of him." (Related: Pete Santili: Mark Houck case a clear example of government overreach against Christian conservatives.)
"We stand up now to safeguard the rights of all Americans who advocate for life. This is a fight for our most essential freedoms, and we are fully equipped and ready to see it through to victory."
Visit Revolt.news for more stories about pro-life activists like the Houck family pushing back against government tyranny.
Watch this clip from "The Pete Santilli Show" with Mark Houck discussing his January 2023 acquittal.
This video is from The Resistance 1776 channel on Brighteon.com.