KALISPELL – A Columbia Falls, Montana, man said he was intoxicated and looking for drugs, not making an anti-abortion statement, when he broke into a Kalispell clinic last year, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Zachary Klundt, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday to burglary, criminal mischief and theft for the March 2014 break-in at All Families Healthcare, the only clinic in the Flathead Valley that provided abortions.
“I harmed and hurt many people by what I did last March, but no one was hurt more by my actions than (clinic owner) Susan Cahill,” said Klundt, whose mother was on the board of directors of Hope Pregnancy Ministries at the time of the break-in. “It is true that I am pro-life. (But) what I did to you, Susan, does not reflect my values.”
Defense attorney Peter Leander said Klundt hadn’t been taking his prescribed medication for anxiety and depression and had been drinking alcohol when he broke into Cahill’s new clinic.
“I came to work on a Tuesday and my office was completely destroyed. Completely destroyed,” Cahill told the Flathead Beacon for a story last month. “He broke things you wouldn’t even think he’d pay attention to. I mean, my Rolodex. He ripped the base off and tore it up.”
Cahill has not re-opened the business, saying she is unable to find anyone willing to rent her the needed space. She said she would like to continue her work as a physician’s assistant but has decided to stop performing abortions.
A Kalispell clinic where Cahill worked in 1994 was firebombed by a Washington state man who was convicted of setting fires at seven clinics in Western states. She said she had also become used to daily letters from religious organizations and even picketers, but the break-in was the last straw.
“I promised my family I wasn’t going to be a martyr; I’ve had enough. Which doesn’t make me feel particularly happy,” Cahill told the Beacon. “They were worried about me.”
Cahill said she hoped Klundt’s apology would help the community heal, but he destroyed her livelihood and needs to pay restitution. She estimated her losses at $500,000, including damages, lost salary and the lost value of the business.
Charges related to other break-ins were dropped as part of a plea agreement that recommends Klundt be sentenced to 20 years in prison with 15 suspended. Sentencing is set for June 11.
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