The mother of teenage girls who Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims offered money to identify earlier this spring said she filed a police report against the Democratic politician.
Ashley Garecht told CBS Philadelphia that Sims’ aggressive behavior had her concerned for her daughters’ and their friend’s safety. The girls are ages 13 and 15.
“Absent the pro-life issue, this was about an adult interacting with minors in an aggressive manner and an adult infringing on minors’ speech,” she told the news station. “I don’t need an apology from him. I’m an adult. I’ve already forgiven him.”
She said she would like Sims to apologize to her daughters and their friend.
Last week, Sims posted a video of himself berating a pro-life sidewalk counselor in Philadelphia. A second video that he posted earlier in April showed him offering $100 for the identities of three pro-life teenage girls who were praying peacefully outside the abortion facility with Garecht.
His requests suggest that the state representative may have been trying to intimidate the 13- and 15-year-old girls through doxxing, a practice where a person’s name and contact information are posted publicly online usually to encourage harassment.
Garecht said she did not realize that Sims was a state representative until earlier this week when the videos went viral.
SIGN THE PETITION: Rep. Brian Sims Should Resign for Harassing Pro-Life Woman
Lawmaker or not, “no grown man should act that way toward any minor under any situation,” she told NBC 10. Asked if she felt in danger, she said Sims had “an imposing physical presence.” Garecht repeatedly has said her biggest concern was for her daughters and their friend.
A video that Sims posted online showed part of his interaction with Garecht and the girls, who were praying outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on the Thursday before Easter. In the video, Sims offered viewers $100 to identify the teenage girls.
“What we’ve got here is a bunch of … pseudo Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here. So, here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood,” Sims said in the video.
His actions may have violated consent and cyberbullying laws. The Philadelphia police and district attorney’s office said they are looking into the incident.
Metro Weekly reports state lawmakers spoke out against Sims’ behavior on the House floor this week.
According to the report:
Sims’ behavior — as well as that of several other elected officials mired in their own controversies — drew an unofficial rebuke from both the Pennsylvania House Majority and Minority Leaders, who, without naming anyone, urged lawmakers to tone down their rhetoric and be more respectful of each other.
“There is no room for hate in any form in this chamber or in our own lives,” Majority Leader Bryan Cutler said in a speech on the House floor. “The people of Pennsylvania expect better from us, and we all promised to serve the people of our commonwealth to best of each of our abilities.”
Neither Cutler nor House Minority leader Frank Dermody indicated whether any further action would be taken against Sims or other members.
Sims released a statement late Tuesday where he did not apologize for his behavior. Instead, he chose to attack pro-life advocates even more by claiming they “slur” and “attack” Planned Parenthood patients – without providing any evidence to support his claims.
In the first video, Sims also appeared to be attempting to doxx another pro-life woman – he called her an “old white lady” – by asking his viewers for her name and address.
“Shame on you!” Sims said as the woman asked him to get his camera out of her face. “You have a problem protesting in public? Don’t protest in public!
“If you know who this woman is and you can give me her address, we’ll protest out in front of her home. Let’s go protest out of her house and tell her what’s right for her body,” he continued.
For most of the video, the woman silently bore Sims’ bullying. The exception was when he got his camera close to her face and she told him not to.
Sims also repeatedly exerted his power and privilege by mentioning that he is a state representative, including when the woman appeared to be calling police.
His bullying continued for more than eight minutes, the length of the video.
A rally against Sims is slated for 11 a.m. Friday outside of the Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia.
A LifeNews petition calling for Sims’ resignation has nearly 30,000 signatures. And a fundraiser started by the Garecht family earlier this week already raised more than $100,000 for a charity that supports mothers and babies in the city.
The Planned Parenthood abortion clinic where Sims harassed the women has failed 13 of its 23 safety inspections.