Pro-choice man accused of “dragging girlfriend to Planned Parenthood for an abortion”

Man on trial accused of assaulting pregnant girlfriend

WEST CHESTER PA— The way a prosecutor presented her case to a jury Monday, had Shawn Walker-Johnson had his way, Julie Hardy would not be preparing to celebrate her first Mother’s Day on Sunday.

What Walker-Johnson wanted, Assistant District Attorney Priya DeSouza said in an opening statement in his trial on assault charges, was for Hardy, his girlfriend, to give up the twin boys she was pregnant with and which he was father to, either though adoption, abortion, or a forced miscarriage.

He “did not want to be a father,” DeSouza told a jury of eight women and four men at the start of Walker-Johnson’s trail in front of Judge Anthony Sarcione. “And he put Julie and her twins through hell in order to make his wishes come true.”

But an attorney representing Walker-Johnson, 21, of Caln, told the jury that the assaults that Hardy would testify to were, in fact, the product of her own imagination, fueled by anger at Walker-Johnson. That is, they did not happen, and there would be no testimony other than Hardy’s that they did.

“He never assaulted her,” said defense attorney John Lachall of West Chester. “He never struck her. Only Julie says these assaults occurred. Julie never complained to anyone about this because, I suggest to you, it didn’t happen.”

Walker-Johnson was arrested Sept. 5 by Willistown police when they were called to Paoli Hospital for the report of a domestic assault. According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Hardy told police when they arrived in the hospital’s maternity ward that Walker-Johnson put his hands around her throat and started to choke her, after he pushed her to give up the twins she was seven months pregnant with at the time for adoption and she refused.

DeSouza, in her opening, said that Hardy told police that Walker-Johnson had been demanding that she give up the children almost as soon as she found out that she was pregnant.

She said there were multiple assaults over the months, starting in July and ending with his arrest. Walker-Johnson would choke her, slap her, and punch her in the belly, apparently in an effort to cause a miscarriage.

The assaults took place both at Walker-Johnson’s home in Caln and at the apartment in Coatesville that Hardy was sharing with a friend. At one point in September, DeSouza said, Hardy became so concerned about the effects of the assaults that she checked herself into Paoli for fear that she was going into early labor.

In addition, in a pre-trial hearing out of the jury’s presence, Hardy said that on April 15, 2010, just after she learned she was pregnant, Walker-Johnson virtually dragged her to the Planned Parenthood office in Coatesville to force her to get an abortion.

“He wanted an abortion because he said we couldn’t take care of them,” she told DeSouza. Hardy said she refused because abortion is “against my religious beliefs.”

“I wanted my children,” she said. “He didn’t want them.”

The twin boys were born alive and healthy in October. The trial is expected to last through the week.

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