Three men associated with an anti-abortion group were convicted this week of trespassing at an abortion clinic in White Plains last year in their efforts to convince women not to go through with the process.
The three men went to trial in White Plains City Court, where a jury on Thursday found them guilty of third-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, for their actions at All Women's Health & Medical Services in November.
The Rev. Christopher "Fidelis" Moscinski, Matthew Connolly and William Goodman were convicted after a three-day trial. They represented Red Rose Rescue, a religious group whose members speak to women at abortion clinics to try and persuade them not to get abortions, when they entered the clinic on Mamaroneck Avenue on Nov. 27 and had to be carried out by police.
The trio's lawyer, Steve Anduze, said the men were found guilty of entering the building and refusing to leave, but that they did not block access to the women seeking medical care there.
"All they did was hand out roses to the patients in the waiting room and offer them alternatives to abortion and supportive services," he said. "They were giving the women roses in the waiting room, and they were offering alternatives to abortion. They were telling them that there were services available to them, they had the opportunity to choose a different path, they wanted to save the lives of the unborn."
Red Rose Rescue said on its Facebook page that the three men were convicted of "helping mothers and preborn babies in mortal danger."
The trio entered the clinic, a private medical office, around 8:40 a.m. on Nov. 27. They stayed there for about two hours despite numerous warnings from the staff and White Plains police that they must leave, the Westchester County District Attorney's Office said. Police officers had to carry the men out of the building.
“The District Attorney’s Office will vigorously prosecute any criminal acts that interfere with an individual’s constitutional right to freely access health care,” District Attorney Mimi Rocah said. “There are no insignificant cases when it comes to the protection of reproductive rights.”
Goodman and Moscinski, a Catholic priest, have been involved in anti-abortion efforts before. The pair faced criminal charges in a similar case in Washington, D.C., according to Red Rose Rescue's website, and Moscinski also faced a criminal case in Virginia.
Connolly, 40, is from Minnesota; Goodman, 52, from Wisconsin; and Moscinski, 52, from the Bronx, Rocah's office said.
The men are scheduled to be sentenced in White Plains on June 20. Third-degree criminal trespass is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to three months imprisonment or one year of probation, as well as a fine of up to $500.
The case is being prosecuted by Celia Curtis.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Abortion clinic trespassers convicted in White Plains