01/24/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2023 16:52
Two Florida residents were indicted by a federal grand jury for spray-painting threats on reproductive health services facilities in the state.
The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Florida, alleges that Caleb Freestone, 27, and Amber Smith-Stewart, 23, engaged in a conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health services facilities from providing those services. According to the indictment, as part of the conspiracy, the defendants targeted pregnancy resource facilities and vandalized those facilities with spray-painted threats. According to the indictment, Freestone and Smith-Stewart, and other co-conspirators, are alleged to have spray painted threats, including "If abortions aren't safe than niether [sic] are you," "YOUR TIME IS UP!!," "WE'RE COMING for U," and "We are everywhere," on a reproductive health services facility in Winter Haven, Florida. The indictment further alleges that facilities in Hollywood, Florida, and Hialeah, Florida, were also targeted.
The indictment also alleges that Freestone and Smith-Stewart violated the FACE Act by using threats of force to intimidate and interfere with the employees of a reproductive health services facility in Winter Haven because those employees were providing or seeking to provide reproductive health services. The indictment further alleges that Freestone and Smith-Stewart violated the FACE Act by intentionally damaging and destroying the facility's property because the facility provides reproductive health services.
If convicted of the offenses, Freestone and Smith-Stewart each face up to a maximum of 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $350,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida and Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.
The FBI Tampa Field Office investigated the case, with assistance from the Miami Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Thelwell for the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorneys Sanjay Patel and Laura-Kate Bernstein of the Civil Rights Division's Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.
Anyone who has information about incidents of violence, threats and obstruction that target a patient or provider of reproductive health services, or damage and destruction of reproductive health care facilities, should report that information to the FBI at www.tips.fbi.gov. For more information about clinic violence, and the Department of Justice's efforts to enforce FACE Act violations, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/national-task-force-violence-against-reproductive-health-care-providers.
An indictment is merely allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.