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Man sentenced for threat to abortion doctor’s family

DENVER – A Washington state man has been sentenced to five years of probation for threatening the family of a Colorado abortion doctor shortly after a Kansas abortion doctor was murdered.

Donald Hertz, of Spokane, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in July.

Hertz was accused of threatening the family of Dr. Warren Hern, of Boulder, Colo., in June 2009. Hern is believed to be the only U.S. doctor who publicly acknowledges that he performs late-term abortions.

Hertz was charged in Denver federal court with making threats across state lines, a felony, and interfering with a reproductive health clinic, a misdemeanor. His case was transferred in July 2010 to federal court in Eastern Washington, where he pleaded guilty to both counts.

Hertz was accused of calling Hern’s clinic and threatening Hern’s family less than three weeks after Dr. George Tiller, who also performed late-term abortions, was shot and killed in Wichita, Kan., in May 2009. Anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder pleaded guilty to murder in that case and is serving life without parole.

“We were terrified,” Hern wrote in a victim impact statement for Hertz’s sentencing hearing. “I believed this threat, and so did every member of my family.”

Hern said his 92-year-old mother was relocated from her apartment for her safety on the night the threat was made.

Hern had asked the judge to give Hertz the maximum penalties, six years in prison and $350,000 in fines for the two charges combined.

Prosecutors agreed to ask for probation in exchange for Hertz’s guilty plea.

In addition to probation, Hertz was ordered confined to his home for 180 days but can leave for work, school, church, medical or mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment and legal appointments.

There was no mention of any required treatments in the sentencing documents.

Hertz was ordered to have no contact with Hern, his family, or any abortion clinic or its employees and patients, and to stay at least 1,000 feet away from Hern’s home and all abortion clinics.



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