Theodore Shulman, a 51-year old pro-abortion advocate, pled guilty on Friday in a Manhattan, New York, federal courtroom to one count of transmitting a threat to injure another person by posting a blog message threatening to kill two pro-life advocates. Shulman pled guilty before United States District Judge Paul A. Crotty.
FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office, Janice K. Fedarcyk, stated, “There is a distinction between advocacy of one’s beliefs and making threats against those who disagree. Advocacy is a right protected by the FBI. Making threats is a serious crime.”
"I'm grateful to the detectives and other law enforcement personnel who have worked with me and Priests for Life throughout this case to gather and track the threats that I have received. The NYPD, the FBI, the Joint Terrorist Task Force, and the Department of Justice have done an exemplary and professional job," said Father Frank Pavone, the Catholic priest who heads Priests for Life.
Father Pavone stated, "I was informed today that Theodore Shulman pleaded guilty to the charges of threatening pro-life leaders, myself included. I hope that his acceptance of personal responsibility for what he did, and his readiness to serve jail time for it, is for him the beginning of a road of conversion and repentance that will reach even to the point of renouncing his position in favor of legal abortion. Violence against me and other leaders is wrong for the same reason that violence against children in the womb is wrong. Both must be rejected."
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As Theodore Shulman [has learned] the hard way, the freedom to express one’s views in America is not a license to make violent threats. We will prosecute and punish those who choose to make their points through threats of violence rather than persuasion and argument."
According to the indictment, the criminal complaint, the plea agreement, other public record material, and statements made in court during Friday's plea proceeding:
On January 14, 2010, Shulman transmitted a threat to injure two victims -- named Victim-1 and Victim-2 to protect their identities -- who were pro-life advocates by submitting a message for posting on a blog called “SecondHandSmoke” that appears on the web site FirstThings.com.
The message was, “If Roeder is acquitted, someone will respond by killing [Victim-1] of [the University] and [Victim-2] of Priests for Life.” Roeder refers to Scott Roeder, who was convicted in 2010 for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who was a doctor who provided abortion services.
Shulman was in possession of cyanide, castor beans, and rosary peas at the time of his arrest in February 2011.
Shulman faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Crotty on September 12, 2012.