(LifeSiteNews) — Mark and Ryan-Marie Houck, the pro-life Catholic parents of seven who were subjected to a dawn raid by heavily armed FBI agents last year, announced they are suing the Biden administration’s DOJ for traumatizing the family and carrying out a “malicious and retaliatory prosecution” against Mark.
The Houcks filed their lawsuits against the DOJ on Monday and publicly announced they had decided to take legal action two days later.
The lawsuits stem from the Houck family’s dealings with the DOJ after Mark, a pro-life sidewalk counselor, was arrested by FBI agents who raided his family’s home in the early morning on September 23, 2022, and charged with federal crimes for minor altercations with an abortion “escort” outside an abortion facility in 2021. Houck pleaded not guilty to both charges and was fully acquitted on January 30 by a unanimous jury.
The Catholic husband and father has subsequently spoken with sympathetic members of Congress while attending the State of the Union address in February, shared his testimony with lawmakers on the Republican-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee in Mary, and in August announced a 2024 run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s first Congressional District.
Houck said he hopes his lawsuit will help “put an end to the unjust persecutions” by the federal government.
“The government can’t do this to its people,” he told CatholicVote on Wednesday. “I think if the DOJ gets hit hard enough and there’s a big enough black eye against them, then they’re going to cease and desist from coming after pro-life people and people of faith.”
The Houcks are seeking to collect more than $4 million in damages, but Houck explained that there’s no price that can be put on his children’s innocence, which he said was robbed from them the day of the raid.
“You cannot put a price on that innocence,” he said. He explained that he and his wife have homeschooled their children for 15 years to protect them, but “all of that was taken away in an instant.”
“We don’t know the long-term effects of this,” he said. “What’s the two-year-old going to say in five years? What’s the four-year-old going to say in 10 years? How are they gonna feel around law enforcement?”
In his lawsuit, Houck accused the DOJ of malicious prosecution, retaliatory prosecution, false arrest, abuse of process, and assault, The Daily Signal reported.
He argued that FBI agents used “excessive force to arrest him on non-violent charges when he had not threatened law enforcement, did not own a gun, and had offered to turn himself into authorities if indicted.”
LifeSiteNews previously reported that Houck was subjected to the aggressive FBI raid even though he had offered to turn himself in. He was also ordered to surrender any firearms he owned, restrict his travel, and give up his passport as a condition of release from jail.
Meanwhile, Ryan-Marie’s lawsuit calls for $3.25 million in damages for the family’s seven children and herself due to the “immense emotional trauma and physical manifestations of stress” triggered by the “imprisonment and prosecution” of husband and father Mark Houck.
Ryan-Marie previously told LifeSite the FBI agents who raided her home and arrested her husband “had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house.”
“The kids were all just screaming,” she said. “It was all just very scary and traumatic.”
Pro-life organization 40 Days for Life is representing the Houck family in their lawsuits.
In comments to The Daily Signal, the organization’s president Shawn Carney said the Houck family has “valid and critical claims against the government that raided their house and pointed guns at them and their screaming children.”
“Mark, his wife, and their seven children have been devastated by this horrific event, which should never have happened if not for the bigotry of our compromised DOJ,” Carney said.
He told the outlet that his clients’ legal challenges “will send a strong message to the DOJ that the United States of America does not belong to [Attorney General] Merrick Garland or the FBI; it belongs to all Americans, despite our many disagreements on different issues.”
“We all believe that we should have the right to free speech and be protected from unlawful infringement by our own government,” Carney said.
The announcement of the lawsuit comes after Houck previously said he wanted to ensure that Planned Parenthood and the Biden FBI are “held to account,” and to prevent the federal government from being weaponized against any other pro-life advocates.
In February, Houck said he was “most definitely” planning to press charges against the DOJ for the “reckless” FBI raid that “terrorized” his young children.