The FBI has begun investigating a series of incidents in which a man told Planned Parenthood clinics around the country that he was running an underage sex trafficking ring, according to a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.
The FBI has been interviewing people at the clinics — a total of eight spread out over five states and D.C. — over the past two days, the spokeswoman tells TPM. She said Planned Parenthood has been giving law enforcement all the information they have.
The FBI did not return a request for comment.
Planned Parenthood requested an investigation earlier this month after the clinics reported getting nearly the same visit: A young man would come in, claim he needed treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, and then reveal to a staff member that he was operating an interstate sex trafficking ring that exploits minors and illegal immigrants.
The visits all happened within a span of five days. Planned Parenthood, which is a frequent target of anti-abortion groups, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to investigate the potential sex trafficking operation, but acknowledged that it might be a “hoax.”
The organization says they believe they’ve identified the man who made the visits and, they say, believe he’s connected to Live Action — a group that uses James O’Keefe-esque hidden camera “stings” in an attempt to dismantle Planned Parenthood.
The group is led by Lila Rose, an associate of O’Keefe’s, and has been targeting Planned Parenthood with hidden camera operations since 2006.
Rose did not return calls from TPM. O’Keefe declined to comment.