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Two Men Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 27, 2010
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, GEORGE VENIZELOS, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced that RICHARD R. DUGAN and THEODORE A. PUCKETT were found guilty yesterday, following a one-day bench trial before United States District Judge ROBERT W. SWEET in Manhattan federal court, of unlawfully obstructing the entrances to a Planned Parenthood clinic, thereby interfering with clinic staff and patients, in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

According to the Information and evidence presented at the bench trial before Judge SWEET:

On December 12, 2009, DUGAN and PUCKETT obstructed the entrances to a Planned Parenthood clinic in lower Manhattan. Specifically, both DUGAN and PUCKETT positioned themselves in front of the clinic entrances and prevented ingress to or egress from the clinic by physically blocking the entrances with their bodies. DUGAN and PUCKETT also prevented clinic staff and patients from entering the clinic. They continued their obstruction of the clinic entrances even after New York City police officers arrived and asked them to move away from the clinic. They only ceased their actions after the officers arrested them and removed them from the scene. In addition, DUGAN and PUCKETT made clear through their actions and statements that they acted in order to prevent clinic staff from providing, and clinic patients from obtaining, reproductive health services.

DUGAN, 48, of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana and PUCKETT, 58, of Normandy, Tennessee were each found guilty of one count of violating the FACE Act. They each face a maximum potential sentence of six months in prison, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. They are scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2010, by Judge SWEET.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department. He also thanked Planned Parenthood of New York City for their cooperation and assistance in this matter.

Assistant United States Attorneys ALVIN BRAGG and ROSS E. MORRISON are in charge of the prosecution.

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