Mark Houck, wife seek millions in lawsuits against DOJ, FBI for 'malicious' prosecution

Houck family claims stress from arrest has led to miscarriages, infertility

The Houck family
The Houck family | Give Send Go

Pro-life activist Mark Houck and his wife filed lawsuits earlier this week against the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in response to his highly publicized arrest last fall.

Houck and his wife, Ryan-Marie, are seeking $4.35 million in damages and alleging malicious and retaliatory prosecution, abuse of process, false arrest and assault by the DOJ, as reported by Catholic News Agency.

Houck, a Roman Catholic father of seven who lives in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was the center of national headlines when FBI agents and approximately 15 state troopers descended on his home to arrest him in front of his family during the early morning hours of Sept. 23, 2022.

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"These government agents intentionally sought to assault Mr. Houck 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 into authorities if indicted," reads the lawsuit notice filed last Monday by the Kansas City-based law firm Graves Garrett LLC.

Houck's arrest came in response to alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act stemming from two incidents that took place outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia on Oct. 13, 2021.

The federal indictment, which came after local authorities had dismissed the charges, accused Houck of shoving abortion clinic escort Bruce Love in two separate incidents on the same day. Houck claimed that in one of the incidents, he defended his 12-year-old son after Love became aggressive. Security footage of the confrontation showed the escort injuring his elbow as he fell to the ground.

Houck, who potentially faced 11 years in prison, was acquitted on Jan. 30 by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit filed by Houck's wife, Ryan-Marie, notes that her entire family has suffered in the wake of the arrest and that each of her seven children, ranging from 2 to 14, experience anxiety, sleep disturbances and fear of losing their parents, according to Catholic News Agency.

"Most tragically, Mr. Houck and his wife have lost three babies from miscarriages due to the stress of the FBI's conduct and resulting prosecution," the notice says, which also notes that the Houcks have been "diagnosed with infertility" because of the stress from the DOJ's actions.

The notice maintains that the FBI "targeted Mr. Houck for indictment without probable cause because of his beliefs, his public prayer and speech, and the fact that he is a counselor associated with a crisis pregnancy center."

The notice also calls the Justice Department's decision to prosecute "malicious" and "intended to accomplish an illicit corrupt purpose not in the interest of justice and in violation of Mr. Houck's clearly established First Amendment rights and his rights under the common law to be free of malicious and retaliatory prosecution."

The DOJ declined The Christian Post's request for comment.

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