Skip to comments.88 Pro-Lifers Arrested at Notre Dame Still Facing Jail Time: Lawyer Asks Fr. Jenkins for Leniancy
Posted on 09/04/2009 2:22:29 PM PDT by wagglebee
SOUTH BEND, Indiana, September 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The president of a pro-life public interest law firm has issued an open letter to University of Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, insisting that the school seek to drop the charges against 88 pro-lifers who await sentencing of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine for protesting the school's honoring pro-abortion President Obama last May.
"[Notre Dame] should honor all who dare to speak out for the dignity of all human beings - born or unborn, wanted or unwanted, humble or exalted - not prosecute them!" wrote Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center president Thomas Brejcha.
On May 17, at least 90 individuals protesting President Obama's presence and honorary law degree were arrested for trespassing on Notre Dame's campus. While witnesses say pro-Obama protesters were allowed to roam free, the arrested individuals were singled out for displaying any pro-life message - including slogans on the sanctity of life, photographs of aborted children, a large wooden cross, and images of Mary.
While the St. Joseph County prosecutor is now in charge of the proceedings, the school still has a prerogative, as the original complainant, to seek that the charges be dropped. Yet president Jenkins have repeatedly refused to seek such leniency or even answer the pro-lifers' requests for dialogue.
"The general council's office of Notre Dame has responded to me by saying that Fr. Jenkins has no interest in discussing these matters any further," pro-life attorney Tom Dixon, who is also supporting the pro-lifers, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) in June.
Having joined the case in June, Brejcha is also preparing to launch a new website, FreeTheND88.org, dedicated to calling attention to the continued prosecution of the pro-life individuals.
In his letter to president Jenkins, Brejcha notes that among the arrestees were Norma McCorvey, the 'Jane Roe' of Roe v. Wade, former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, Motherhood Interrupted author Jane Brennan, author, and Denver pro-life activist Laura Rohling. He said it was "shocking" that the charges were not quickly dropped, as all the pro-lifers had already spent various amounts of time in jail.
"Surely that protracted detention and the humbling impact of a public arrest on trying to enter the campus of America's premier Catholic university was enough of a penalty to offset whatever 'injury' or 'insult' these good people inflicted on Notre Dame's property rights," said Brejcha.
Even worse, said the lawyer, is the fact that the protesters were compelled to return to South Bend to enter "not guilty" pleas, and again at a later date to demand jury trials - although Brejcha said the prosecutor has "backed off" the latter demand. Protesters originally traveled from as far as New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas to protest the Notre Dame scandal.
Brejcha said he was "yet more deeply aggrieved on hearing, Fr. Jenkins, that you had responded to a request that the charges be dropped by claiming that 'it is out of [your] hands.'
"With respect, Father, the future of these cases - if they must go on - is squarely in your hands," he said. "Notre Dame is the complainant. Its security personnel directed and/or conducted the arrests, pointing out those who would be arrested (pro-lifers) and those who would not (those carrying pro-Obama signs and/or taunting the pro-lifers)."
Brejcha noted that, in the Society's long legal battle against the National Organization for Women that ended in the Supreme Court, Notre Dame's then-president Fr. Ted Hesburgh and other Notre Dame affiliates helped with the case.
"Now the 'Notre Dame 88' have asked us to take the lead in their defense," said Brejcha. "Not to spite Notre Dame but because we love it, we have agreed. America's civil rights movement is ongoing, and the pro-life movement is its next phase.
"Notre Dame should not only support this new civil rights movement but lead it. It should honor all who dare to speak out for the dignity of all human beings - born or unborn, wanted or unwanted, humble or exalted - not prosecute them!"
Click here for the full text of Brejcha's letter.
To contact University of Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins:
Office of the President
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Guidelines for composing effective communicatons here.
See previous LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
ND Prez Jenkins Has "No Interest" in Asking for Leniency for ND Protesters Despite Calls for "Dialogue"
Notre Dame Not Seeking Leniency for Arrested Pro-Life Protesters: Thomas More Lawyers Now on the Case
Pro-Life Protesters Arrested on ND Campus to Return to South Bend to Face Charges
It seems that Jenkins would prefer to do Zero's bidding and spit on the pro-life movement.
Ping for your lists
the left is now locking up protesters? political prisoners in America
B16 needs to drop him a line.
Mabye Van Jones can come out and PROTEST and get them to change their minds.
Thanks for sending this to me. I’ll write, call and ping. Fr. Jenkins’ attitude is unfathomably vindictive.
Pilate Jenkins. Ptui!
As if Jenkins would listen.
He’s ignorant, or there is some other faction at the school which would step in and re-make the complaints if Jenkins backed his out.
Oh, I think it’s pretty easy to fathom ... they assaulted his ego.
ON WHAT FREAKING CHARGE?????!!!!!
Holy Crap! Every one of these people need to counter-sue dammit!
Could he be shamed into it by pointing out that most evangelical churches don’t act like this?
Let's be fair, Pilate at least pretended that he wasn't the bad guy.
Jenkins is playing the role of Caiaphas.
Not a chance.
Yep, they dared to suggest that a Catholic college observe basic Catholic doctrine.
The World Over Live, (EWTN - 8PM EST) has had some very good programs. Last weeks was outstanding. Bet Raymond will be addressing this tonight.
Unfortunately I will have to catch the rerun since this evening we are having First Friday Services.
We all shouldn’t waste our time with Devil Jenkins! He certainly qualifies for NO title as honorable as father!
WE should be writing and contacting THE HOLY FATHER at The VATICAN about this Travesty of HUMANITY being Foisted on The Catholic Church by an Agent of SATAN, himself!
More than that, they got in his face and challenged his authority and his judgment on what he views as his turf. It’s like Cape buffalo facing off.
Jenkins is claiming, apparently falsely, that he can’t un-complain. Looks like a hand washing move to me.
He’s so “enlightened” that he doesn’t even have time for other Roman Catholics. Feh! Surely if Obama can be merciful to those Black Panthers, Jenkins can do the same to people in his own church.
“Fr. Jenkins attitude is unfathomably vindictive”
It’s perfectly fathomable! He’s a leftist!
I loathe Notre Dame and the liberal American Catholic Church is almost as bad. The Pope needs to smack down these abortionists. Does The Church own the university or the land it sits on?
Good point, it looks like the only role left to fill is that of the actual executioner.
IIRC no injuries and no property damage. Jail time is disproportionate to the offense.
My understanding is that the Church DOES NOT own the property.
Still no word on real criminals;
To be sure, we did see this coming several decades ago. The Land of Lakes proclamation, by which Catholic colleges told their namesake church that its norms really didn’t matter any more to what the college did.
From discussion some time back, I believe I understood that the bishop serving Notre Dame’s local area could tell Notre Dame that the right to call themselves “Roman Catholic” is rescinded. This is the nuclear option but it may be the only thing left.
Thanks for keeping me posted.
It has been done before, JPII asked a governor to grant leniency on a criminal who was sentenced to a capital crime. It was granted.
I’d think that Pope Benedict would be rather incensed about this situation.
And what does the Catholic Church say about that?
does that read like he can be shamed?
Jenkins is not only a poor excuse for a priest...he is evil.
His just rewards await him in due time.
A letter w/88 signatures right to The Pope. The Pope is the only one I heard speaking out against abortion.
I thought that Jenkins was sacked after this??
Seems like the folks might appeal to the county prosector; I wonder if that is an elected post?
This just does not sound like the kind of thing that serious Christians would want to get involved with. Maybe the church got through to Caesar in its early centuries, but this didn’t happen by kissing an evil king’s hiney, it happened because an insistent church finally got its message across. It would be a better witness to Obama for Obama to have been declined than to have been invited to give a fatuous propaganda-op.
They did nothing other than voice their view but so did the other side. Yet only one side gets arrested. HATE CRIME, we have a HATE CRIME here.
Why 88, is that a magic number for such requests? I’d think that from FR alone, hundreds could be had.
He does seem to be difficult to shame.
Worse, the president is wrong on his theology and Rome is silent.
You’re all not getting it. It’s the post-Christian era, and that forgiveness stuff is so passé.
Personally I wouldn’t ask Father Jenkins for a glass of water if I was dying of thirst.