Mark Houck’s children were startled awake by a loud banging on their door.
The older girls looked out the window, saw flashing lights, and ran out to the landing to see what was going on.
The little boys sat up in their beds, sleepy and startled.
Mark Houck Jr. rushed to the stair railing as questions raced through his mind. “Is someone trying to break into the house? Is it someone upset with my dad? Why would someone be coming to our house to arrest my dad?”
Below them, down in the entryway, stood their father.
Their mother was on her way down the stairs.
Crowded on the front porch and the front lawn were about 15 FBI agents, with guns pointed at their parents. It was around 7 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
“They were all the way lined down my driveway,” the children’s father said. “I had agents on my porch with long guns.”
Eva, the oldest sister, shared that Mark Jr. tried to order his siblings to go back to their rooms. Terrified at the spectacle before her, she said she just couldn’t leave.
Little Teresa told me that she wanted to rush at them and yell, “You can’t take my dad!” She didn’t say that, though she did push past her older brother and run down the stairs to her mother.
“I woke up and the girls were outside the door crying,” remembered 9-year-old Joshua. “And I asked them what was wrong and they didn’t answer, and I looked down the stairs and I saw guns pointing at Mommy and Daddy….”
When Mark found himself confronted by FBI agents, guns pointed at him (and later at his wife, as she made her way down the stairs), his first thought was to protect his children.
“Stay calm,” he said he told the agents as he opened the door and showed his hands. “I have seven babies in here. Please, stay calm.”
There were 15 marked and unmarked vehicles on his property, Mark said.
When he asked what was going on, the agents reportedly told him, “You know why we are here.”
“I had to gather my faculties,” Mark said. Then he responded.
“Oh, you’re here because I rescue babies.”
Almost involuntarily, he added: “You wouldn’t be here if the Trump administration was in the White House.”
Mark says they all “kind of looked down” at this remark, and no one said anything.
Then Ryan-Marie arrived at the door, demanding, “Do you have a warrant for his arrest?”
Mark said that agent CJ Jackson (the lead agent on the case who was present at the trial) told her, “We are taking him with or without a warrant.” Ryan-Marie continued to press the agents, as their children began crying and screaming, about why they were taking her husband.
Mark wanted the agents and their guns out of his house and away from his children as fast as possible. “What do you want?” He asked them. “What do you want me to do?”
When they told him they were going to take him down to the station, Mark says he asked if he could put more clothing on (he was wearing a T-shirt and shorts on the chilly September morning), brush his teeth, or grab his rosary. Each of these requests was met with a “no,” though he was ultimately given his rosary.
One agent finally sent Ryan-Marie, who was still demanding a warrant, upstairs to get Mark a sweatshirt. When she returned, they had cuffed him and put him in a vehicle.
“Now I’m thinking there was a possibility that they just wanted to get him away because I was putting up a fight,” she said.
“I was scared for my children who were all screaming and crying, and that was very difficult because my natural inclination would be just to go to them,” she said. “But at the same time, I didn’t know what was happening and I needed to get some information. I just knew enough that they needed documentation.”
“You can’t just take somebody away, you know?” she insisted. “We’re not living in China. You can’t just pull people away from their home for no reason.”
When Ryan-Marie came downstairs, her husband was gone. Jackson, that lead agent, yelled to her from the driveway that he was getting her the warrant. There were still officers with guns on the porch, she said, and her children were still screaming and crying….
They later “tightly” shackled him at his waist and at his ankles, he said, forcing him to “shimmy” his feet as he walked. Mark said they chained him to a table for six hours in a small room, and at this point, he “fully entered into the peace of Christ….”
“The U.S. Marshals handle prisoner transfer,” he explained. “They are used to dealing with felons and so I was treated as such. Very curt in demeanor and rude in tone. There was no humanity. You were treated less than human with no dignity. While I was only there for about 30 minutes, I felt like I was already convicted of my alleged crime(s).”
By the time authorities had finished fingerprinting him and their business, it as about eight or 10 hours later. He was reunited with his family around 3 o’clock that day.
Mark was charged with violating two counts of the FACE Act. If convicted, he faced 11 years in prison.
On Jan. 6, 2023, the DOJ offered his lawyers a plea deal. Mark described the attitude as “we’ll make this a slap on the wrist” if he plead guilty— “We can spare you the trial and you can have your normal life back.”
His answer to such an offer was “always going to be no,” Mark said. Ryan-Marie backed him. He knew his wife wouldn’t let him come home if he took such a “cowardly” deal.
Represented by the Thomas More Society, Mark went to trial. A jury declared him not guilty of the FACE Act charges in late January.
Last week, Mark attended the State of the Union as the guest of Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. He took his family back to the abortion clinic in Philadelphia where this all began, and as a family, they thanked God for their deliverance and prayed for the unborn….
Full story from the Daily Signal on LifeNews.
Sounds like some of the things Bishop Schneider’s family went through under Communism. St. Thomas More pray for us.
May God protect and bless this man and his family. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their courageous stand and, in essence, “winning” a case for all of us. We should not be intimidated or back down in the face of evil. (1 John 4:4) Many know Mark through his involvement in men’s ministry. He is the founder and president of The King’s Men. If you’re interested, check out the link below:
I feel sorry for the kids.
I feel very bad for those kids, who had to endure a politicized and frightening encounter with law enforcement. The FBI should not behave like the Stasi.
“I feel sorry for the kids.” Why, because they have a brave Father setting an example of Christian dedication in the fight against evil? Because they have seen the ungodly exert its fury to crush the innocent? Because they have seen first hand how evil actions come from evil policy makers in Washington, that it makes a difference who is president etc.? Because they now know that all those who desire to live godly lives will suffer persecution? Because they now know Jesus (and Mary) are the only sure refuge in times of crises? Why do you feel sorry for kids privileged to live with a dad so dedicated to God?
You are really glamorizing this.
No child should have to go through what they went through.
The parents should make decisions to keep their children safe. That is basic.
Most pro-lifers are not raided by the FBI.
Their children need counseling now.
The adults probably do too.
The adults may be able to cope by idealizing and glamorizing and intellectualizing.
Kids can’t do that and they should not be BS’d