Serious questions have been raised regarding the arrest last week of a Catholic pro-life speaker as donations continued to pour in for the father of seven.
Mark Houck, of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, was handcuffed by FBI agents on Friday morning and arrested in front of his children. The 48-year-old Houck later was charged with physically assaulting a patient escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia nearly a year ago, The Epoch Times reported.
When Houck's wife, Ryan-Marie, asked the FBI agents whether they had a warrant, she told LifeSiteNews that the agents replied "they were going to take him whether they had a warrant or not."
Mark Houck, who regularly prays the rosary outside the clinic, maintains he was defending his 12-year-old son from the escort's verbal harassment, family spokesman Brian Middleton told Catholic News Agency on Sunday. The man fell after Houck pushed him away, the spokesman added.
The city police and the district attorney declined to file charges against Houck, but the escort then filed a private criminal complaint in Philadelphia municipal court, said Middleton, who added the case was dismissed in July when the man repeatedly didn't show up in court.
However, just days later, Houck received a "target letter" from the U.S. attorney's office informing him that he was the focus of a federal criminal probe into the same incident.
Houck, through his attorney at the time, attempted to contact the U.S. attorney's office to discuss the case but never received a response. He then was arrested Friday.
"At 7am on Friday, September 23, 20 SWAT team members burst into the home of Mark Houck, founder of The King's Men — an organization that forms men to act as leaders and protectors in their families and communities, especially in the fight to end abortion," Pennsylvania pro-life activists Joe and Ashley Garecht wrote on the crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo.
"These agents had guns drawn and shields up in the faces of Mark, his wife, and their seven young children. Mark was handcuffed in front of his family and arrested."
As of Monday morning, the Garechts had gathered more than $157,000 via their crowdfunding page for the Houck family. Funds raised through the campaign will go to help the family with any necessary expenses, according to the site.
Houck, if convicted, faces up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000, according to the DOJ.
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