(Reuters) - A pregnant California professor will face charges for allegedly shoving a 16-year-old anti-abortion protestor and stealing another picketer’s sign during a campus demonstration earlier this month, a prosecutor said on Friday.
Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor who teaches feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, faces misdemeanor charges of theft, battery and vandalism, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said in a statement.
Miller-Young was seen in a YouTube video viewed nearly 60,000 times clashing with members of the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust group who organized an anti-abortion event on the university campus in early March.
The video posted by the group begins with a written statement saying that a group was carrying signs showing “images of abortion victims” and distributing pamphlets to provoke a dialogue among students.
It then claims a professor grabbed a sign from one of the protestor’s hands, gave it her students, and they walked off with protesters following her through several campus buildings.
The protesters, who cannot be seen on camera, can be heard saying, “She’s a thief. She’s a professor.” In response, Miller-Young turned around and said, “I may be a thief, but you’re a terrorist.”
When the protesters attempt to enter an elevator with Miller-Young, the group claims the professor shoved a protester several times and scratched her.
“It is ironic that a female professor, who claims to be pro-woman, would resort to theft and violence against another woman in her attempt to silence a different point of view,” the group said in a statement on its website.
The university did not immediately return phone calls and an email on Friday seeking comment. Miller-Young’s attorney declined to comment.
In an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper on Friday, Miller-Young said she was “triggered” by the graphic images on the sign and pamphlets carried by the protesters.
She added that she was especially offended by the protesters’ cause because of her focus of study and because she is currently pregnant.
Miller-Young is scheduled for arraignment in Santa Barbara Superior Court on April 4, it said.
Reporting by Laila Kearney in San Francisco; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Lisa Shumaker