Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the FBI has declined to prosecute in connection with a series of incidents where a man entered Planned Parenthood and claimed to be a pimp operating a sex trafficking ring. Those incidents were later revealed to be part of a video “sting” by the anti-abortion group LiveAction.
“It is my understanding that the FBI actually has looked at that matter” and “prosecution was declined in that matter,” Holder’s commented in a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee.
LiveAction, a group led by Lila Rose, sent actors into Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, who then referenced a sex trafficking ring while inquiring about getting abortions for underage sex workers. They secretly filmed their interactions with employees. Live Action accuses Planned Parenthood of repeatedly covering up sexual abuse — their idea, they say, was to get “proof”. Planned Parenthood strongly denied LiveAction’s claims and said some of the videos had been “doctored.”
Before the videos were released, Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI to the possible sex trafficking ring, but acknowledged it might be a “hoax.” A spokesman for Planned Parenthood told TPM in January that the FBI had been interviewing clinic staffers who had been approached, in a total of eight locations in five states and Washington, D.C.
On sex trafficking and prostitution in general, Holder said Tuesday:
As I said, this is something that is a priority of the department, it’s a priority of mine. If you look at the fact that Craigslist has dropped their adult ads — that’s a significant thing. And that happened as a result of meetings that occurred in my office and some work that some organizations who we met with did, and we’ve had other meetings about other publications that have continued to do this.
“This is not something that we’ve done very loudly or sought attention about, we’ve only sought results,” he said.
Additional reporting by Ryan Reilly.