Many of the staff members and volunteers at the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia in Charleston breathed a sigh of relief after the city passed a law to limit protesters, but one worker took legal action to curb the harassment she said she experienced.
Jamie Miller, who works at the center, filed personal safety orders in May against anti-abortion protester Derrick Evans for repeatedly harassing her at her workplace. The safety orders were filed because of alleged stalking and repeated threat of bodily injury, Miller’s motion to enforce states.
Miller’s job is to provide emotional support and escort people into the facility. Her position is necessary because of protesters like Evans, the motion said.
She entered a temporary personal safety order and then after a hearing, a final personal safety order. A little more than a week after the hearing, Evans violated the order and came to the Women’s Health Center to protest, the motion states.
Evans followed Miller around and video recorded her without consent, according to the motion. He then posted the videos on his Facebook page with 11,000 followers, some of whom threatened Miller, she said in the motion.
A follower of Evans’ Facebook page wrote: “Why does that lady have the right to life and not the babies that come to that abortion clinic! If you murder her can we call it abortion!!” according to the motion.
Miller stated in the motion Evans has claimed to have a weapon with him several times, though he does not show it. However, she said in the document that he does “make sure we know it’s there.”
Much of the harassment alleged in the motion can be seen on video on Evans’ Facebook page, Miller’s attorney, Sean Cook, said.
On several occasions Evans denied the restraining order even existed. He also falsely claimed the court granted a personal safety order against Miller on his behalf, according to the motion.
Evans told the Gazette-Mail in an interview that the judge filed a personal safety order on behalf of Evans and Miller. When asked if he could provide the newspaper with a copy of the order he said, “You can go over to the judge and get one from the magistrate court like anyone else can.”
However, in terms of temporary personal safety orders, all orders, findings, pleadings, recordings, exhibits, transcripts or other documents contained in a court file are confidential and are not available for public inspection, according to state code. Miller’s motion was provided by her attorney.
“Mr. Evans’ refusal to acknowledge the requirements of the Court’s Final Personal Safety Order is disturbing because it demonstrates a contempt for the law,” Cook said.
“If he blatantly refuses to abide the Court’s requirements here, how much further is he willing to go to unlawfully achieve whatever objectives he might have?”
Evans also said Miller, although he did not identify her by name, acted against him as well. He said she made shirts with his face on them that said “abortion daddy.” He said when he asked her why she wasn’t wearing the shirt one day that she cussed at him and spit on him. He alleges this happened the day before she requested the order.
Fines and incarceration are a possible outcome of violating the personal safety order, according to court documents.
But Miller just wants to go to work without fear of harassment, Cook said.
“Ms. Miller only wants to do her job without harassment and threats, but Mr. Evans refuses to let her,” Cook said.