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Anti-Abortion Extremist Sentenced to 18 Years for Child Molestation

Anti-abortion extremist John Burt was sentenced today to over 18 years in prison for molesting a 15-year-old girl. A jury in Pensacola, Florida found him guilty of four counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of lewd or lascivious contact in early April. The young girl was living at Our Fathers House, Burts so-called home for unwed mothers, at the time. Her family may sue Burt for the girls emotional damage.

In the early 1980s, John Burt, who was the Regional Director of Rescue America at the time, was at the center of disruptions at the Pensacola, Florida clinics. In 1986, Burt led an invasion into the Ladies Center Clinic in Pensacola, which led to his arrest and conviction along with Joan Andrews Bell, an associate of James Kopp, who was convicted of assassinating Dr. Barnett Slepian. Joseph Scheidler was touring at the time on his book, 99 Ways to Close an Abortion Clinic. Scheidler was on the lawn in front of the clinic at the time of the invasion. This incident was the impetus for the NOW v. Scheidler case that went to the Supreme Court twice and is still in litigation.

In 1993, Burt was leading a Rescue America protest outside the second Pensacola clinic when an Our Father's House volunteer, Michael Griffin, shot and killed Dr. David Gunn in the rear of the clinic. Burt was also an associate of Paul Hill, who murdered Dr. Bayard Britton and volunteer escort James Barrett outside the Ladies Center Clinic in Pensacola in 1994. Burt was videotaped helping Paul Hill identify Dr. Britton outside the clinic in the weeks before Hill shot and killed Dr. Britton and his clinic escort.

In the past, Our Fathers House had the support of even national organizations; for example, Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, wrote a letter praising both Burt and Our Fathers House.

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Media Resources: Pensacola News Journal 5/12/04; Feminist Majority Foundation