A United States attorney has indicted a man who described himself as a “pro-choice terrorist” with six counts of making interstate threats against pro-life advocates such as Priests for Life director Father Frank Pavone and Princeton University law professor Robert P. George.
New York resident Theodore Shulman, 49, has plead not guilty to six counts of communicating interstate threats. The charges each carry a maximum five-year sentence and were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York.
Shulman allegedly left a threatening voice mail message with the Calif.-based Life Legal Defense Foundation’s legal director Catherine Short. He is also accused of posting threats to the Priests for Life website, the “Second Hand Smoke” blog at the First Things website and the blog “RealChoice.”
The March 22 federal indictment, published by Mother Jones magazine, listed six separate incidents but redacted the names of the alleged victims.
One January 2010 threat referred to Scott Roeder, then on trial for the murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller.
“If Roeder is acquitted, someone will respond by killing [Victim-1] of [the University] and [Victim-2] of PRIESTS FOR LIFE,” the threat said.
A threat Shulman allegedly posted at another blog said that if anyone “terrorizes” Nebraska late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart there will be “retaliation, in the form of murderous attacks against right-to-lifist Professor Robert P. George of Princeton, and his family.”
The poster said he would not commit the attack himself “but someone will.”
A spokesman for Priests for Life told CNA that because Fr. Pavone is involved in the case he does not feel he should talk about it until it is resolved. Prof. George could not be reached for comment.
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek has said Shulman has made threats against her. He also allegedly threatened Troy Newman, president of the Kansas-based Operation Rescue, who praised the indictment.
“Finally, this self-called 'pro-choice terrorist,' Ted Shulman, has been indicted for several death threats against pro-life leaders, including myself,” Newman said. He predicted that Shulman will likely spend “a very long time behind bars.”
“I hope it sends a clear message to those who perpetrate violence against peaceful, non-violent pro-life people,” he added.
The accused man is the son of feminist activist and author Alix Kates Shulman. He started a blog called “Operation Counterstrike” whose mission statement said “Right-to-lifism is murder, and ALL right-to-lifers are bloody-handed accessories. Swear it, believe it, proclaim it, and act on it.”
While the blog has been closed to uninvited readers, a Feb. 10 Google cache reveals a “Prayer for Safety” in the blog sidebar asking for the protection of Princeton professor Robert P. George and Priests for Life president Fr. Frank Pavone. It asks that God keep them safe “from terror and from assassination, so long as Dr. Leroy Carhart remains safe and un-terrorized, and not one second longer.”
Fr. Pavone became the first full-time director of Priests for Life in 1993. Prof. George is Princeton’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and co-authored “Embryo: A Defense of Human Life” which argues for the personhood of the human being from the moment of conception onward.