For the past week Live Action has been releasing video after video showing Planned Parenthood employees in New Jersey, New York and Virginia offering advice to a couple posing as sex traffickers of underage girls on how to keep their business running when their “employees” come down with sexually transmitted diseases or get pregnant.
In response, Planned Parenthood has fired one employee, announced they will retrain their staff, and accused Live Action of doctoring their hidden camera videos.
In the past, Live Action’s Lila Rose has produced undercover video of Planned Parenthood employees coaching young girls on what to say so they don’t have to report their adult boyfriends to the police on charges of statutory rape.
Put this all together and my question is simply this: Why has a lawsuit not been brought against Planned Parenthood under RICO? For those of you who’ve forgotten, Operation Rescue (an organization whose goals I support, but tactics I don’t) was hit with several RICO lawsuits in the 1980s and racked up huge legal bills.
RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, would appear to allow a creative lawyer to go after Planned Parenthood as a corrupt organization.
Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity.
Among the crimes, obstruction of justice—aiding sex slavery and statutory rape by failing to report them to police—would appear to be the easiest to prove.
Such an attempt to use RICO in this fashion wouldn’t be unheard of. Prosecutors in 2002 attempted to bring RICO charges against Catholic bishops in Cleveland during the sex abuse scandal, but the grand jury rejected those charges.
So, any lawyers want to help me out here? Have RICO suits fallen into disfavor? Is such a lawsuit too much of a stretch? I’ll concede that chances for success are relatively slim, but it seems that if some lawyer wanted to bleed Planned Parenthood this could be useful.