MILWAUKEE, March 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Today in a Milwaukee municipal court, charges were dropped against a pro-life counselor who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct last August.
James Marcou, a veteran sidewalk counselor, was charged after two clinic escorts at the Affiliated Women’s Heath Center claimed he was disorderly and obstructed free access to the abortion facility by striking a “clinic escort.”
“James Marcou can now carry on his life-saving work without this criminal charge hanging over his head,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, which represented Marcou.
The charges were dropped after the key witness in the case failed to appear this morning to testify at an initial hearing.
Brejcha said that he learned that the witness, who was a regular clinic “escort” and who was known to pro-lifers as Gwynn, “gave police a false name – Steve Smith – and was subpoenaed to appear by that name.
“No wonder he didn’t show up, as not only his name but also the rest of his story was falsified, and the whole truth would have come out clearly.”
On the day of his arrest last summer, Marcou was standing outside the Affiliated Women’s Health Center in Milwaukee making a video recording of peaceable sidewalk counseling and pro-life presence outside the clinic. One of the “clinic escorts” at the Health Center tried to block his view, moving back and forth as Marcou stepped from one side to the other to avoid any conflict.
According to the Thomas More Society, the escort – Gwynn – persisted, lurched at Marcou and forced him into a brick wall. When the police arrived they interviewed the escorts inside the clinic, but they reportedly omitted to ask any of the pro-lifers for their side of the story.
“The police should have investigated all the facts before filing these false charges. Indeed, charges of assault and battery should have been filed against the clinic workers. Instead, Milwaukee police and city prosecutors charged the innocent pro-lifer,” said Brejcha. “Our client has been vindicated and Milwaukee authorities have been put on notice to chase criminals, not life savers.”