The Justice Department asked a federal judge yesterday to order a Reading man to stop posting violent threats against abortion providers in Philadelphia, Allentown and Reading on an Internet site.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan alleged that John Dunkle, 72, "encouraged his readers to kill a specific clinic physician by shooting her in the head."
In a sworn statement, Mary Blanks, a doctor, said she stopped working at Reading and Philadelphia abortion clinics "out of fear of John Dunkle's threats to my life."
The suit came as a surprise to Dunkle.
When reached by phone yesterday, Dunkle said he was not aware of the lawsuit and he would stop posting the offensive material if asked.
"Oh yeah, if someone tells me to stop," he said. "You are not talking to a hero."
Dunkle, however, said he was not the author of the most heinous postings, which he says were put there by a man he refers to as MPC. "I call him MPC - My Philadelphia Correspondent," Dunkle said. "I told him before all this started if the FBI comes and says who is writing this stuff, I'm not going to hide you."
Dunkle said the man told him to go ahead and display it anyway.
Prosecutors allege the postings violate the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
"This type of intimidation and scare tactic, regardless of one's beliefs or religious convictions, simply cannot be condoned," Meehan said in a statement. "Using a public forum, such as the Internet, to incite and instruct people to kill is tantamount to a form of domestic terrorism."
The suit calls for Dunkle to remove the postings from his blog and asks the court to prohibit him from publishing further threats, names, addresses and photographs of health clinic doctors, staff and patients.