A Washington state man on Tuesday was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for posting threats to kill staffers at a company formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood on Fox Nation.
Scott Anthony Orton, who made the threats under the username “Joseywhales,” posted comments on the site in July 2015 about his intention to travel to Placerville, California to kill managers at StemExpress LLC, a biotech firm that was involved in the health provider’s fetal tissue donation program.
The company was mentioned by Planned Parenthood officials in the “sting” videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists that prompted congressional Republicans to call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood in summer 2015.
Orton was charged with transmitting interstate threats, according to the Justice Department.
“Orton made explicit, public statements expressing his intent to kill the victim,” acting U.S. Attorney Philip Talbert said in a DOJ press release. “His conduct caused the victim to fear for her life and the lives of her family members and colleagues. The sentence imposed by the court recognizes the seriousness of his offense and should act as a deterrent to similar conduct.”
Posts made by “Joseywhales” included calls to hang one particular StemExpress officer deemed a “death-profiteer” by the neck “using piano wire.” Other comments promised to “pay ten grand” to whoever killed that individual before he got the chance to.
The National Abortion Federation, which monitored Orton’s comments and referenced his threats in a suit against the creators of the sting videos, released a statement praising the government’s action to curtail threats against abortion providers.
“Unchecked, threats contribute to a climate where some anti-abortion extremists think they are justified in taking the law into their own hands,” NAF president Vicki Saporta said in the statement.
NAF’s statement pointed to last November’s deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado as one such example. Robert Dear, who’s suspected of killing three people and injuring nine others in the attack, called himself “a warrior for the babies” in court.