Pro-Abortion Activists Face Misdemeanor Charges for Disrupting Pro-Life Mass at Ohio Cathedral

Photo credit: Courtney Hergesheimer, The Columbus Dispatch

Three reproductive rights activists who were charged last month for their actions during a January protest at the Respect Life Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral Downtown were arraigned on Friday.

The misdemeanor charges — filed Feb. 18 in Franklin County Municipal Court against Jordyn Close, 24; Michelle M. Davis, 39; and Mason Hickman, 24 — include disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. All pleaded not guilty on Friday morning and are scheduled for pretrial hearings in March and April.

Anne Morrice, 35, who faces these misdemeanors. as well as a charge for criminal damage, will be arraigned on March 19.

The four charged were part of a group of eight activists who stormed into the cathedral during its morning Mass on Jan. 22. At the time, no arrests were made, said George Jones, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Charges were requested from the city attorney’s office and then filed at a later date, according to Columbus Police Sgt. Dan Edelsberg. For nonviolent misdemeanors, this can be done instead of an arrest when the person’s identity is known and it is likely they will appear in court, according to a division directive cited by Edelsberg.

“As with every incident, evidence must be collected and reviewed for each defendant.

After evaluating the available evidence, including surveillance videos, witness statements, and more — these were the four defendants we had sufficient evidence to move forward with charges,” said Meredith Tucker, spokeswoman for the city attorney’s office.

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SOURCE: The Columbus Dispatch, Danae King