The mother of two teen girls who were harassed by Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims while praying outside a Planned Parenthood in 2019 told Fox News that “he doesn’t deserve anyone’s vote” after Sims announced he’s running for lieutenant governor on Monday.
“He doesn’t deserve anyone’s vote for statewide office,” Pennsylvania mom Ashley Garecht told Fox News on Tuesday. “He violated his oath of office as a sitting state representative when he maliciously atacked and endangered three young girls who were exercising their First Amendment rights.”
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Sims, a Democrat, faced backlash in 2019 for harassing an older woman and offering $100 to anyone who doxed three teen girls, including Garecht’s daughters, praying outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood.
“What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters, a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters, who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” Sims said in a 2019 video he posted of pro-lifers outside the Planned Parenthood. “So here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 for anyone who will identify any of these three I’m going to donate to Planned Parenthood. A bunch of White people … shaming people.”
Garecht’s daughters, ages 15 and 13 at the time, are now 17 and 15, she told Fox News. Her family is still involved in the pro-life movement and Garecht is on the board of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, she said.
“Our family prays in front of clinics, and then just two months ago my daughters helped me throw a baby shower for a young teenage mom, so pro-life work is what we do as a family,” she said.
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Sims spoke about the “values my Army officer parents instilled in me: to take responsibility, to show empathy, to have courage and to be authentic” in his launch video.
“I was shocked by his announcement video which claims that he thinks every day about courage, empathy and values because none of his behavior in regards to my children, in regards to the other woman he harassed for eight minutes … he is not a man of courage, he’s a coward,” Garecht said.
Garecht said Sims sent her family a written apology several months after the incident but described it as “disingenuous” since Republican state lawmakers were planning to censure him before he apologized.
Sims had previously apologized — but not to the teen girls or the woman — in a Planned Parenthood fundraising email.
“I know for sure it was not an apology to my daughters, who at that point had a police car sitting in front of their house because we were so concerned,” Garecht said.
Ashley Garecht’s husband Joe Garecht weighed in on Sims’ candidacy on Monday.
“Brian Sims is a disgrace, and our commonwealth deserves better,” he wrote on Twitter. “Any governor candidate who allies with him should be prepared. We held a rally with 2000 people in Philly when Sims did this. We will be just as vocal against your candidacy if you team up with Sims.”
Pennsylvania’s current lieutenant governor, Democrat John Fetterman, announced earlier in February that he is running for the state’s open Senate seat.
Sims has represented his Philadelphia district in the state legislature since 2013. He ran for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District in 2016 but dropped out, according to Ballotpedia.
Sims is Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state lawmaker.
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Fox News’ inquiry to Sims’ campaign was not immediately returned.
Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.