Schanzenbach v. Skeens and Bristol Regional Women’s Center

When local police refused to intervene, Erika filed petitions for protection orders against each of the aforementioned respondents. Erika sought protection as a “stalking victim” under Tennessee law, which applies regardless of the relationship between the victim and perpetrators and covers the exact kind of repeated, unconsented harassment engaged in by the respondents.

Thomas More Society attorneys represented Erika at trial in Bristol, TN, in August 2020. Although the Trial Court verbally reprimanded the abortion escorts for their unacceptable conduct, it denied Erika’s petitions for protection orders (though it did so without prejudice). The judge mistakenly ruled that Erika did not fit the mold of a typical stalking victim since she still returns to pray and witness outside the abortion facility—despite her testimony that she does so because of a religious duty and always tries to avoid the respondents, including by standing on the other side of the street and trying to walk away whenever they approach (to no avail). The Thomas More Society has appealed this ruling to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, where the case is still pending.

The Thomas More Society has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of Erika against Alethea Skeen, Denise Skeen, and the abortion facility, seeking an injunction and damages for the above-mentioned conduct in October 2020. The civil lawsuit alleges that the Skeens committed a variety of torts against Erika, including Assault, Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Malicious Harassment, and Public Nuisance. The lawsuit also names the abortion facility as a defendant for vicarious liability, since the abortion facility provides pink vests and supplies to the Skeens and other escorts and ostensibly condones their illegal conduct. The case is currently still in the discovery phase.

In the first civil action, Erika is seeking orders of protection against her four most egregious harassers: Alethea Skeen, Rowan Skeen, Denise Skeen, and Cheryl Hanzlik, all of whom are uniformed “escorts” for the local abortion facility. Undisputed video evidence recorded by Erika and others shows these four individuals engaging in relentless physical and emotional abuse against Erika (despite her countless requests that they stop) including: licking her arms; blaring police siren bullhorns in her face; following her step-for-step to her vehicle hundreds of feet from the abortion facility; following her step-for-step on the sidewalk and street outside the abortion facility; leaning against her pro-life signs; kicking her signs; hurling obscene profanities and gestures in her face; and covering her with large, open umbrellas.

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