A Pennsylvania state lawmaker who bullied three teenage girls as they peacefully prayed outside a Philadelphia abortion facility has finally apologized to them.
The Daily Caller reports state Rep. Brian Sims, a pro-abortion Democrat from Philadelphia, recently sent a card to Ashley Garecht apologizing for how he treated her, her two teenage daughters and their friend outside the Planned Parenthood this spring.
“Dear Ashley, I want to reiterate my sincere apologies to you and your family,” Sims’ card reads. “I regret the harm that I caused and I have learned a great deal from this. I can only ask for your forgiveness and I wish you all the best in the future. Sincerely, Brian Sims.”
Contrary to what Sims wrote, he never apologized to the Garecht family until this point. In May, he did apologize to Planned Parenthood for making abortion activists look bad after his behavior attracted national scrutiny.
His apology note comes at least five months after Sims posted public videos online showing him bullying the 13- and 15-year-old girls and their mother, according to the report. In one video posted publicly on social media, he offered money to anyone who would give him the girls’ identities, a practice known as doxing, which is used to intimidate and bully people.
Garecht told the Daily Caller that they do forgive Sims, but he should have apologized publicly for his “dangerous and unethical behavior.”
“Mr. Sims should make a public statement of remorse as an appropriate balance to his video of intimidation and harassment that he proudly publicized to the world via Twitter,” Garecht said.
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“Our family forgave Mr. Sims many months ago and we extend that forgiveness again now,” she continued. “It is our sincere hope that Mr. Sims will modify his conduct in the future and that he will stand in defense of all citizens who exercise their First Amendment rights in the public square, including those who advocate for life outside of abortion facilities.”
Despite a huge protest and national media attention, state Democratic leaders did not take any action to condemn Sims’ behavior. In May, Bill Patton, a spokesman for Pennsylvania House Democrats, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that they were “satisfied” with Sims’ promise that he will not behave that way again.
State Republican leaders condemned Sims’ behavior, and state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill, introduced a resolution to formally rebuke Sims, remove him from all standing committees, and prohibit future appointments to leadership positions or committees for the remainder of his term.
In May, about 1,000 pro-lifers held a peaceful rally in Philadelphia, calling for the state lawmaker to apologize and resign. LifeNews.com also began a petition calling for Sims’ resignation; it amassed more than 34,000 signatures in May.
Additionally, the Garecht family used the publicity to raise nearly $130,000 in an online fundraiser to support mothers and babies in Philadelphia.
One of the videos that Sims posted online showed part of his interaction with Garecht and her teenage daughters who were praying outside the Planned Parenthood on the Thursday before Easter. In the video, Sims offered viewers $100 to identify the 13- and 15-year-old 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.
In another video, Sims also appeared to be attempting to dox another pro-life woman – he called her an “old white lady” – by asking his viewers for her name and address.
His requests suggest that he may have been trying to intimidate the girls through doxing, a practice where a person’s name and contact information are posted publicly online, usually to encourage harassment.
Sims’ actions may have violated consent and cyberbullying laws. The Philadelphia police and district attorney’s office said they are looking into the incident.
In the wake of national publicity, Sims released a statement 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.