KALISPELL, Montana — A Flathead County judge on Thursday ordered a Columbia Falls man to spend five years in prison and repay hundreds of thousands of dollars for vandalizing a Kalispell abortion clinic last year.
District Judge Ted O. Lympus sentenced 25-year-old Zachary Klundt to 20 years with 15 years suspended. Klundt pleaded guilty in April to burglary, theft and criminal mischief for the 2014 break-in at All Families Healthcare.
Lympus also ordered Klundt to repay clinic owner Susan Cahill and the building's owner $669,000 for the damage.
The clinic was the only one in the Flathead Valley that provided abortions. Cahill has not reopened the clinic.
Cahill in a statement to the judge said anti-abortion protesters had picketed her office for years and then bought it out from under her, forcing her to relocate. Klundt, the son of the person who founded the anti-abortion group Hope Pregnancy Ministries, which bought her old office, destroyed her new office three weeks later in March 2014, Cahill said.
"Apparently they were determined to stop me one way or another," she said.
Klundt's attorney had argued the crime was unplanned and his client was intoxicated. Klundt's sister testified at the sentencing hearing that he had issues with anxiety and alcohol and prescription medication abuse.
Klundt, in an apology to Cahill during his April hearing, described himself as "pro-life" but said that what he did does not reflect his values.
Cahill said in her statement that she does not accept Klundt's apology or his explanation that he was drunk and looking for drugs. She compared Klundt's motivation — destruction because of a difference in belief — to that of those behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Holocaust and the actions of the Islamic State group.
"The meticulous destruction of absolutely everything in my office — including my personal family photographs — is not the actions of someone who is 'looking for drugs.' (Zachary) Klundt destroyed (my) office because he and his family are anti-abortion," the statement said.
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana executive director Maggie Moran said giving Klundt prison time sends a message that anti-abortion violence won't be tolerated in Montana.
"The threat to abortion providers is real — harassment, assaults, bombings, and assassinations — these are terrifying realities that people like Susan Cahill endure," Moran said in a statement.