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Terrorism database includes pro-life activists acquitted of trespassing, sidewalk chalking

Terrorism database includes pro-life activists acquitted of trespassing, sidewalk chalking


Students for Life protesters Erica Caporaletti and Warner DePriest are pictured during their 2020 arrest outside an abortion clinic. They are listed in a terrorism database despite being acquitted. 

Terrorism database includes pro-life activists acquitted of trespassing, sidewalk chalking

Two pro-life organizations have learned they are listed alongside the Ku Klux Klan and Al Qaeda by a terrorism watchdog based at the University of Maryland.

Eric Scheidler, of the Pro-Life Action League, tells AFN he is considering legal action after learning the university has included him and his group in its database which is titled “Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States,” or PIRUS.

The database is maintained by the university’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism, or START.

Scheidler’s supposed crime was a criminal trespassing charge in 2015, when he was arrested outside a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. He was later acquitted of the charge by a judge.

Scheidler, Eric (Pro-Life Action League) Scheidler

“This particular data base is supported by federal money,” Scheidler points out. “So this is our tax dollars being used to label as terrorists people in the pro-life movement.”

The College Fix first reported on the university’s “Individual Radicalization” database because the collection of bad guys includes two protesting pro-life students, Warner DePriest and Erica Caporaletti. They were arrested in 2020 outside a Washington, D.C. abortion clinic, where their crime was drawing on the public sidewalk. AFN confirmed they are listed in PIRUS.  

Mirroring the charges against Scheidler, the charges against DePriest and Caporaletti were eventually dropped but they are included in the database anyway.

Because the two young adults are members of Students for Life, that group told The College Fix it is also considering legal action.

Hamrick, Kristi (Students for Life) Hamrick

“We have not been contacted by START or given a look at what they seem to be alleging,” Kristi Hamrick, a spokesperson for Students for Life, told the Fix. “Our attorneys are looking into this program.”

A university that lists acquitted pro-life activists in a terrorism database, Scheidler says, undermines the confidence people have in the entire database.

“I mean, if completely peaceful, innocent pro-life activists are being cast as terrorists who else are they lying about?” he says. “What else are they lying about?”