The initial report is chilling:
Early Friday morning, according to LifeSite News, several dozen armed FBI agents arrived at a home in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, to arrest pro-life activist Mark Houck for alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Houck had just become the latest target of Merrick Garland’s predatory Department of Justice.
Houck, 48, was at home with his wife, Ryan-Marie, and their seven young children when members of the SWAT team began pounding on the front door at 7:05 a.m., Ryan-Marie Houck told the news outlet.
In describing the scene afterward with LifeSiteNews reporter Patrick Delaney, Ryan-Marie said that before her husband opened the door, he told the agents, “Please, I’m going to open the door, but, please, my children are in the home. I have seven babies in the house.”
“But they just kept pounding and screaming,” she said.
This is a disgrace and should not be happening in America. Pray for Mark Houck and his family.
— John-Henry Westen (@JhWesten) September 24, 2022
When Mark Houck finally opened the door, Ryan-Marie said, the agents had “big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house.”
She continued, “Our staircase is open, so [the kids] were all at the top of the stairs which faces the front door, and I was on the stairs as well, coming down. The kids were all just screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic.”
Ryan-Marie told LifeSite that her husband “asked her to get him a sweatshirt and his rosaries, but when she returned, they already had loaded him into a vehicle.”
“After they had taken Mark, and the kids were all screaming that he was their best friend, the [FBI agents on her porch] kind of softened a bit,” she noted. “I think they realized what was happening. Or maybe they actually looked at the warrant. They looked pretty ashamed at what had just happened.”
Ryan-Marie, who homeschools her children, told LifeSite she is worried about long-term psychological trauma and said she’s already reached out for some professional help.
According to Fox News, however, the FBI downplayed the drama.
In a statement, a representative for the bureau’s Philadelphia field office disputed the account that Houck’s arrest was a SWAT team operation.
“There are inaccurate claims being made regarding the arrest of Mark Houck. No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved,” the statement said, according to Fox. “FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck’s front door, identified themselves as FBI agents and asked him to exit the residence. He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment.”
The two stories aren’t necessarily exclusive. The FBI’s dry, bloodless statement doesn’t say that no armed agents participated in the arrest — just that there was no “SWAT Team” involved. (How the FBI technically defines “SWAT Team” might be different from how a homemaker sees it, watching her husband being arrested by federal agents while her children are screaming.)
The FBI also doesn’t indicate exactly how many of these agents were involved, which was an oversight, no doubt.
However, Fox reported, the representative “did not respond to a follow-up question from Fox News Digital regarding the accuracy of the report that up to 25 agents were involved in the arrest.”
That doesn’t exactly boost the FBI’s credibility on this one.
Houck is a family man, a pro-life speaker and author, the founder and president of The King’s Men, a Christian group that “promotes healing for victims of pornography addiction,” and a “sidewalk counselor,” LifeSite reported. His wife told the outlet that he travels to Philadelphia, which is a two-hour drive from their rural Pennsylvania home, “every Wednesday to sidewalk counsel for six to eight hours at two different abortion centers.”
The warrant, which Delaney published in a Twitter post, alleges that Houck attacked a patient escort outside an abortion clinic on two occasions.
Below is the first page of the warrant issued for the FBI SWAT raid of Catholic pro-life speaker, author and sidewalk councilor, Mike Houck. pic.twitter.com/XeVLhbxAYI
— Patrick Delaney (@PatrickDDelaney) September 24, 2022
Ryan-Marie told LifeSite “this charge comes from an incident that had already been thrown out of the District Court in Philadelphia but was somehow picked up by Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice.”
She explained her husband took their 12-year-old son to “sidewalk counsel” several times last year. A “pro-abortion protester” would repeatedly say “crude … inappropriate and disgusting things to their son” about Mark. Once this man told their son, “your Dad’s a fag.” The other remarks, LifeSite reported, were “too vulgar for her to convey.”
Houck told the man not to talk to his son, Ryan-Marie told LifeSite, but “he kept doing it and kind of came into [the son’s] personal space.”
And finally, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back. … He didn’t have any injuries or anything, but he tried to sue Mark.” But, early this summer, the case was “thrown out of court.”
A news release published Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania portrays the charges quite a bit differently, as one would expect.
It states: “Houck allegedly assaulted the victim, a 72-year-old man, identified in the Indictment as ‘B.L.,’ because B.L. was a volunteer escort at the reproductive health care clinic. In the first incident, B.L. was attempting to escort two patients exiting the clinic, when the defendant forcefully shoved B.L. to the ground. In the second incident, the defendant verbally confronted B.L. and forcefully shoved B.L. to the ground in front of the Planned Parenthood center, causing injuries to B.L. that required medical attention.”
It also states that if Houck is convicted, he “faces a maximum possible sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000.”
Clearly, the two versions of what happened between Houck and “B.L.” are very different and we can’t possibly know the truth at this point. However, given the Biden DOJ’s track record of overzealousness in targeting the administration’s political opponents, my money’s on Ryan-Marie’s version.
On Friday, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a Republican, issued a statement in which he called Houck’s arrest “an abuse of power.”
He reiterated that the case “was long thrown out by the District Court in Philadelphia” and that the Houck’s “seven children were traumatized and in tears as they witnessed their parents held at gunpoint and their father hauled away in handcuffs.”
“This show of force carried out by the Biden regime against ordinary Americans is an abuse of power that stands against the fundamental principles on which our country was founded.
“As governor, I will not allow the police state of Joe Biden to enforce his persecution against his political enemies on sacred Pennsylvania soil. Not on my watch.”
Mastriano is absolutely right.
Regardless of what happened at the Houck home on Friday, recent events involving the DOJ and the FBI — whether they’re targeting American parents upset with their school boards or a former president of the United States — have made it all too clear that the country’s premier law enforcement agencies have become weaponized arms of the Democratic Party.
They can’t be allowed to ruin the country.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.