April 24, 1996 in Nation/World

Doctor Sues Priest Over Abortion Stand

Associated Press
 

A doctor suing a suspended Roman Catholic priest for $50 million said Tuesday that the anti-abortion activist put his life in danger by saying it is justifiable homicide to kill abortion doctors.

Dr. Bruce Lucero, who wore a bulletproof vest in court, testified that the statements by The Rev. David Trosch have forced him to spend $50 million on security for his clinic and staff over the next 20 years until his retirement.

Under questioning, Trosch repeated his belief that it was acceptable to kill abortion doctors, saying he was obeying the law of God, not church superiors.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Butler heard testimony in the non-jury civic trial Tuesday and gave attorneys two weeks to file final arguments before he rules.

Lucero, accompanied in court by two bodyguards, said he bought the vest within a hour after his friend, Dr. David Gunn, was shot to death in 1993 outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic.

Lucero and Trosch have appeared together on television talk shows as Trosch’s position gained nationwide attention in the wake of Gunn’s murder, which led to a conviction and life sentence for Michael Griffin.

As the non-jury trial on Lucero’s suit opened, the judge watched 90 minutes of two TV programs “Geraldo” and “The Shelly Stewart Show” - which featured Trosch and others in the abortion debate.

It was the Oct. 5, 1994 “Geraldo” appearance by Trosch and Lucero that sparked the lawsuit. Trosch described Lucero as a “mass murderer” who “should be dead.”

Lucero’s civil suit claims Trosch violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law.

The judge asked whether the doctor somehow invited the threat by appearing on the show. Lucero testified that he went on to “send a message to Trosch’s followers.”

Lucero said he feared not only Trosch, but those who have heard his positions. Lucero testified that his clinic has been a frequent target of anti-abortion protesters.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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