All Scott Fitchett Jr. did was share the gospel in front of an abortion clinic. But in our culture, where good is now evil, the New York attorney general saw his act of charity and compassion as a crime.
For his day job, Fitchett is a preschool through kindergarten teacher. But in his spare time, on Saturdays, he decided to peacefully share the gospel “on public sidewalks throughout New York City.”
One of the places where Fitchett shared the gospel outside was outside of New York’s largest abortion business, Choices Women’s Medical Center.
His purpose was “to persuade women to change their minds about seeking an abortion by communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
But in 2017, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Fitchett and 12 other defendants for their pro-life speech. The attorney general argued that Fitchett and the others had “harassed, threated, and menaced patients, families, escorts and clinic staff” at the abortion clinic.
“The tactics used to harass and menace Choices’ patients, families, volunteers, and staff are not only horrifying – they’re illegal,” Attorney General Schneiderman said at the time.
But according to Liberty Counsel, which defended Fitchett and the other pro-life activists in court, Schneiderman filed the lawsuit “to silence the pro-life and Christian messages he openly despised.”
Announcing the lawsuit in a press conference outside of Choices, Schneiderman said pro-life Christians “run their mouths” with “unlawful, un-American rhetoric.” He said that America is “not a nation where you can choose your point of view.”
Thankfully, the legal proceedings in this case revealed the attorney general’s lawsuit for what it was: bogus, anti-Constitutional persecution of pro-life Americans.
U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon denied the attorney general’s request for an injunction against the 13 pro-life Christians. The judge’s order, Liberty Counsel notes, “categorically rejected all of the AG’s claims that Fitchett threatened or intimidated Choices’ patients or interfered with their access to the facility.”
Rather, Judge Amon found that Fitchett’s “sole activity was to preach and hold a sign [CHRIST DIED FOR SIN] while standing at the edge of the sidewalk.” The judge affirmed Fitchett’s testimony “‘that he preached the gospel outside an abortion clinic’ against ‘what he perceives to be outrageous sin.’”
Following Judge Amon’s ruling, the attorney general appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which originally ruled against the pro-life Christians, before changing course and affirming the district court’s judgement.
In 2018, Schneiderman resigned his office after being accused by four women of sexual misconduct and physical abuse.
Now, on November 16, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James dismissed the case against Fitchett and the 12 other defendants. The state of New York will have to pay Liberty Counsel for the costs it incurred during the litigation.
“This is a great victory,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.
“The New York attorney general’s lawsuit was politically motivated and patently frivolous. Our client, Scott Fitchett, did nothing wrong by exercising his First Amendment right to preach the gospel on a public sidewalk.”
In the United States, sharing the gospel is not a crime, despite the attempts of rogue elected officials to make it so. Thankfully, in this case, the legal process played out as it should have, and justice was served.
The case is Letitia James v. Kenneth Griepp et. al.
Photo from Liberty Counsel.