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Arkansas pastor accused of harassing patient escort at abortion clinic

by John Moritz | May 17, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.

A pastor at a Hazen church was cited on a misdemeanor harassment charge last week after a patient escort at a Little Rock abortion clinic said that he verbally and physically accosted her at several protests.

Scott Skarda, a pastor at the Family Christian Fellowship Church in Hazen, was taken into custody at a protest near Little Rock Family Planning Services on Friday on a misdemeanor harassment warrant, according to a police report.

Last month, Karen Musick, a volunteer escort for the patients at the clinic, filed an affidavit alleging Skarda grabbed her cellphone while she was recording a protest Dec. 4 and refused to give it back. She also wrote that Skarda put his hands on her car as she tried to drive a patient to the clinic Feb. 20 and later that day grabbed an umbrella she was using to shield another vehicle.

When reached to comment about the citation, Skarda called the allegations bogus and said the escorts were the ones who had harassed him and other anti-abortion protesters.

He said he never touched her or another protester or attempted to block their cars. He said he took the phone after it was shoved into his face, and the umbrella after Musick used it to poke at a protester.

That protester, who identified herself as Jade Bunnell, said she was holding her baby and trying to talk to a woman driving to the clinic when she was blocked by the umbrella.

Skarda "grabbed the umbrella but he didn't hurt anyone or anything," Bunnell said.

Reached by phone, Musick said she has filed complaints against Skarda and one other man whose name she did not know.

"He's a scary man," she said of Skarda. "The majority of the peaceful protesters have abandoned the clinic to the bullies."

Skarda said he "detests going" to the protests, saying that counter-protesters and escorts call him names and insults. He said Musick one time pushed him, but he has never filed a police report.

"I'm a Christian, I'm a pastor; that's not what I do," Skarda said when asked why he did not file a report.

Musick said she tried pushing Skarda after she asked him to move away from blocking her and patients from entering the clinic.

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