Not only will Lorna Green have to serve five years in prison for setting fire to a Casper abortion clinic, she’ll also have to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution for damage that pushed the clinic’s opening back nearly a year.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson ordered Green, 22, on Tuesday to pay $298,170.95 to three groups for breaking into the Wellspring Health Access building in Casper in May 2022, dousing it in gasoline and setting it on fire. It’s the final part of her sentencing.
The parties Green will have to pay include National General Insurance Co., the building’s owner Christine Lichtenfels and the president of the abortion clinic, Julie Burkhart.
Green must pay National General, the clinic’s insurance provider, which had to pay out to repair the roughly $290,000 in damage to the building, a total of $240,119.02.
She has to pay Lichtenfels $33,488.98.
During Green’s sentencing in September, Lichtenfels spoke about how Green’s actions personally affected her, causing her to lose income because the Wellspring facility couldn’t open on time.
Green must pay $24,562.95 to Burkhart, president of the Wellspring Health Access organization that runs the clinic, which also serves as a transgender treatment center.
Green’s attorney, Ryan Semerad, did not oppose the restitution amounts.
'Put To Rest'
During the September sentencing, Burkhart expressed sympathy for Green and the predicament she has found herself in.
“In a way my heart breaks for the defendant,” she said at the time. “I don’t hate her, and I am trying to forgive her for this deplorable action.”
Green, who opposes abortion, expressed remorse for her actions throughout the prosecution of her case, saying she was driven by nightmares and anxiety about the clinic’s opening.
Burkhart told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the arson was challenging for her business financially and she is “glad this is the final piece, and it has been put to rest.”
Green was sentenced by Johnson in September to 60 months in prison and three years’ supervised release as outlined in a plea agreement. She could have received as much as 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, but instead got a minimum sentence as a result of her guilty plea deal.
Johnson indicated then that he also would impose a sizable restitution but had not determined exact figures at that time.
Green won’t be able to start paying much of her restitution until released from prison. Within Tuesday’s order there is no deadline set for when she will need to have the debt paid off.
Abortion is still legal in Wyoming while recently passed laws mostly prohibiting the practice are contested in court. The laws, including the nation's first explicit ban on abortion pills, are being challenged in a lawsuit filed by four women and two nonprofits including Wellspring.
Arguments were presented before Wyoming District Judge Melissa Owens on Dec. 14. Whatever Owens decision may be will likely be challenged before the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Wellspring Health Access has been highly controversial in Casper as well, with frequent protests held outside the building and the town’s mayor criticizing its presence. With the closure earlier this month of a clinic in Jackson that provided chemical abortions, Wellspring is now the only active abortion provider in the state.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.