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Anti-abortionist activist jailed after fleeing police

Apr 05, 2011 8:34 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Father Francis G. McCloskey, seen in a photo accompanying a Metrolands story about an Albany anti-abortion protest by his group Oh, Saratoga! from August, 2004. "][/caption]A noted anti-abortion activist priest is currently being held in the Columbia County jail in Hudson. The Register-Star has a police blotter story about the arrest of 71-year-old Father Francis G. McCloskey for third-degree fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and reckless driving. According to a press release from the New York State Police at Livingston, Trooper Matthew Colwell responded to a Columbia County 911 call of a stolen vehicle. After locating the vehicle, he attempted to stop the vehicle but McCloskey allegedly fled. McCloskey was then stopped in the town of Livingston by the State Police after a brief pursuit, When it was uncovered that McCloskey was also wanted by the Hudson Police Department for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and by New York State Police in Lysander, N.Y., a suburban town northwest of Syracuse. He was arraigned and sent to the Columbia County Jail. Deeper research identifies Father McCloskey as leader of the "extremist anti-choice group" Oh, Saratoga!, according to Pro Choice Mississippi, who reported on a series of actions in the state capital of Jackson five years ago. "McCloskey and Oh Saratoga! have written books such as '100 ways to shut down a clinic,' have multiple arrests for invading and burglarizing clinics, and have publicly advocated for the murder of abortion doctors. Their leader, Father Francis G. McCloskey, 'will risk persecution' in order to stop 'sexmongers' and ACLU’s 'bold pursuit of a godless society,'" the website reported. The priest, a member of the Albany Catholic Diocese, has a reported history of leading daily protests at Planned Parenthoods and clinics offering abortions in upstate New York. The website for Oh, Saratoga! features alleged letters from Satan preaching for tolerance and other sins, according to the Albany-based group's views, as well as calls for action. It has member groups in Hudson and Poughkeepsie, as well as throughout the Capitol Region. It also trumpets a "ProLife Car" deal that gives group members "the use of a car for our life-saving soul-saving work." We'll keep you updated as this story unfolds.