August 21, 2023

Peoria Planned Parenthood Arsonist Sentenced

Tyler W. Massengill
On August 15, Tyler W. Massengill, a 33-year-old career criminal, was sentenced for his Jan. 15 arson attack on the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center.

The sentence carries 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and $1.45 million in restitution. On Feb. 16, Massengill pleaded guilty to malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage, the Peoria Health Center. 

Massengill has a criminal record dating back 20 years, including 26 arrests in Peoria County. Despite this, federal officials suggested his conduct represents a pattern of violent extremism posed by pro-life activists. the following statements come from a US Department of Justice press release.

“Massengill’s actions represent the very real threat posed by extremists in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge David Nanz of the FBI Springfield Field Office. “Protecting the American people from such extremists remains a top priority for the FBI and our team remains laser-focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals who cross the line from expressing protected speech to violating federal law.”

“This defendant’s violent conduct severely damaged the Peoria Health Center and obstructed patients’ access to reproductive health services,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute such unlawful, destructive acts, and to protect the clinics that provide reproductive health services, as well as their patients and staff.”

When he pleaded guilty to charges, Massengill stated that his actions were "triggered" by anger at an ex-girlfriend's abortion. His impulsive, violent actions were those of a career criminal, not a pro-life activist. The DOJ's investigation did not find any connection with a pro-life group, nor a personal pattern of pro-life activism. The DOJ's statement takes advantage of the situation to further a false narrative that pro-life activists are violent extremists.

Pro-life groups attempt to save innocent children from violence and assist vulnerable mothers through non-violent means. Onlookers who see pro-lifers at work will see crisis pregnancy centers and sidewalk counselors, not violence and hatred.