{{featured_button_text}}
Courts

CHICAGO — A Dyer man sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 1 ½ years in prison had sent an online message to a Chicago abortion clinic saying, "I will do anything and everything to stop the unmitigated murders of fetuses," according to authorities.

"I will do anything to stop the atrocities committed by your clinic every minute of every day at your clinic," 35-year-old Luke Wiersma reportedly wrote. "You are all pieces of [expletive] and I will kill to stop these atrocities. I will blow you up if I have to, burn the clinic down. I will do whatever is necessary I swear to God I will. After that you are in God’s hands and He will do His thing."

Wiersma pleaded guilty last year to posting online threats of violence on at least seven occasions in October and November of 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Illinois.

He submitted the threats through the clinics' websites, according to attorney general. The clinic in Chicago provided reproductive health services, and the one in Hammond provided counseling services related to women’s reproductive health.

U.S. District Court Judge Manish Shah described the use of threats as "terrorism."

Wiersma apologized, saying he "had no right to push my beliefs" on those involved with the clinics and knows his actions "terrorized them."

"The defendant’s transmission of numerous death threats to the Chicago clinic and the Hammond clinic is an extraordinarily serious offense that threatens public safety and terrorizes both medical communities and the women who utilize reproductive health clinics," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly M. Greening argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. "These types of threats have a significant, lasting impact on the lives of many, including the employees and volunteers of the clinics and the patients who visit the clinics for medical care."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

0
0
0
0
0

Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.