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Judge denies orders of protection in pro-life woman's harassment case

Judge denies orders of protection in pro-life woman's harassment case

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — A Sullivan County judge denied a woman’s request for orders of protection against four women Tuesday in relation to confrontations between pro-life and pro-choice advocates outside a Bristol clinic.

Attorneys for Erika Schanzenbach, described as a pro-life witness and sidewalk counselor, presented video and witness evidence in Sullivan County Chancery Court in Bristol.

Following an initial hearing in January, the case was moved to Tuesday as the woman and her attorneys sought to have the judge hear evidence. Earlier this year, Schanzenbach and attorneys with the Thomas More Society filed multiple petitions for orders of protection against Denise Skeen and her daughters, Alethea and Rowan, as well as Cheryl Hanzlik. The society is a conservative, pro-life law firm based in Chicago.

Thomas More Society Counsel Michael McHale claimed the women sought out Schanzenbach for harassment wherever she stood outside of Bristol Regional Women’s Center on West State Street, even when she was across the street. He added that Schanzenbach was the subject of a variety of abuses, including being surrounded, having her view blocked, having her arms licked and profanities.

Pro-life advocates in Bristol were under attack, the society said in a news release earlier this year. The organization said it was intervening on their behalf.

During the hearing, Schanzenbach’s attorneys showed clips of a video recording that showed multiple confrontations.

Tuesday’s hearing lasted most of the day, and the decision to deny the request was made after 5 p.m.

rsorrell@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC | Facebook.com/robertsorrelltn

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