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Former Anti-Abortion Movement Martyr Now Sought in Child-Molestation Case

Snohomish County Sheriff's Office

Police are searching for a well-known abortion clinic firebomber from Western Washington because he is the chief suspect in a child-molestation case involving an 11-year-old girl attacked at a Fred Meyer grocery store in the town of Snohomish, the Daily Herald of Everett reports.

Last Friday, a judge issued a $250,000 warrant for Curtis Anton Beseda, a 58-year-old former roofer, accused of molesting the girl as she waited for her father at the store. Beseda was identified by more than eight witnesses as the man seen on store-security surveillance video images that the victim identified as her attacker.

However, Beseda has not been at his Snohomish apartment for several days, and as of Monday afternoon, no arrest had been made.

Beseda became a cause célèbre among abortion-rights activists in the 1980s after he firebombed abortion clinics in Everett and Bellingham, one of the first anti-abortion activists to do so. After he was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for the crimes, Beseda became an imprisoned martyr for the anti-abortion cause, and he was feted by his admirers at a national banquet in 1995.

He was released briefly from prison in 1996 but was returned a year later for parole violations, finally emerging in 2003. However, since that release he has been convicted of three misdemeanor charges (including fourth-degree assault and trespassing). He also was accused of an attempted arson in Snohomish, but was found not guilty by a district court jury.

The abortion-clinic arson attacks in the 1980s were part of what abortion-rights activists called a "holy war," and as a Los Angeles Times piece noted at the time, Beseda's arsons had the effect of permanently closing those clinics.

"The lives I could save (from abortion) the next day were precious," Beseda told the reporter. "There were lives that were saved."

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