July 23, 2012 — A homeless man who had been living in the parking lot of a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic pleaded guilty on Thursday to starting a January fire that destroyed the facility, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, was charged with arson and destroying a business that provides reproductive services. Rogers, who described himself as illiterate, has a long criminal history and faces up to 21 years in prison for the clinic fire. He started the fire at the American Family Planning Clinic "because of his hatred for abortion," according to the AP/Chronicle.
Rogers had no history of activism but had been spending time with antiabortion protesters outside of the clinic. He will be sentenced on Oct. 4.
U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh in a statement after Thursday's hearing said, "The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute acts of violence that threaten reproductive health workers and establishments."
The incident is among a long history of violence at the clinic, including a 1984 Christmas Day bombing (Nelson-Gabriel, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 7/19).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership