Thursday, June 22, 2006


This article was published originally in the May-June 2005 issue of the Columbus Free Press. This issue was not published online.

One of the big ignored stories of the Terri Schiavo deathwatch was the exposure of long-time Operation Save America operative Scott Heldreth as a convicted sex offender out of Athens, Ohio

According to the Ohio University Post and Athens County court records, in September 1992, Heldreth, then 19, was charged with 1 count of kidnap and 2 counts of criminal rape of an 18-year old woman at the OU golf course. Ohio University police who investigated the crime said that Heldreth, a drifter and university couch-crasher with no permanent address in the Athens area, had a history of violence including battery. Held on $250,000 bond he eventually pled down to sexual battery. Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records indicate that Heldreth was granted shock probation from the Pickaway Correctional Institute under a suspended sentence after only 6 weeks of hard time. He remained on probation until June 1997. Heldreth is a registered sex offender in Illinois and Florida, but not in North Carolina where he now lives, since that state’s law pertains only to convictions after January 1, 1996.

In his testimony “Broken Cisterns” no longer available on the OSA website, Heldreth talks about his jailhouse conversion, blaming his violent past on hypocrisy in the church he grew up in, and his then belief in “humanistic thinking” and evolution. He brushes off the rape and the victim herself, saying only that he became involved with “one of the girls” at an all-night campus party.

Heldreth, currently living in Kannapolis, North Carolina with his wife Kathy and 7 children (another is on the way), was outted as a sex offender in the Daily Kos after he made national news when his oldest son Joshua, 10 and 5 other children were arrested outside Woodside Hospice on Good Friday as they attempted to take water to Terri Schiavo.

News 14 Carolina in Charlotte, Heldreth “Cried tears of joy” as he watched his little boy’s staged arrest. Original article from Charlotte Observer no longer online, but is reprinted here (OSA website).

Heldreth was much more explicit the day after Joshua’s arrest. In a phone interview with Minuteman United director Dave Daubenmire, broadcast live from outside Woodside Hospice via cell phone on Daubenmire’s weekly WRFD-AM Columbus radio show “Pass the Salt.” “[We] decided to let him come down here and live out his belief system-- his biblical belief system in action. And not just talking about Jesus but he wanted to actually to be like Christ on Good Friday and try to lay down his freedom so that she could be blessed with some refreshment of water.” Comparing Joshua to a young David, taking on Goliath while King Saul kept to his tent hiding—an obvious reference to “the missing in action evangelical church” that Daubenmire, Heldreth and OSA and their ilk view as “yielding turf” to secular society, Heldreth explained, “I’m training up my son to be a man of God at an early age so that he cannot sit idly by as the nation falls apart. But he’s gonna have to step up and be a man of righteousness…. I’m proud of him.”

Scott Heldreth was last spotted in Ohio during the 2004 summer OSA occupation of Columbus City Hall and here. Wearing his trademark checked shirt, he milled around the crowd and took up the collection each night. He also participated in the “fetal; funeral” staged by OSA and Frank Pavone from Priests for Life and ran interference with police during the public Quran burn.

OSA oppositionists may remember Heldreth best, though, as the buzz cut that during the run-up to the Quran burn targeted a pre-teen Muslim protesting OSA with his father and older brother on the steps of City Hall. Despite repeated demands from his father and other OSA protesters to leave the under-age boy alone, Heldreth attempted to shout the boy straight down to hell for following the “Satanic lie” of Islam. After about 15 minutes, police finally escorted Heldreth out of the area—but not before he threatened retaliation against the city for breeching his right of free speech.

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