PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Republican Party of Pennsylvania on Wednesday called for city, state and federal prosecutors to investigate state Rep. Brian Sims over his recorded confrontations outside of a Center City Planned Parenthood. Now, the mother featured in one of the videos where Sims said he’d pay people to identify her daughters is speaking out.
The reaction to the videos have gained even more attention over the past 24 hours, leading to some even calling for Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims to resign. The mother of two of the young girls Sims recently confronted says she was concerned for her family’s safety.
Ashley Garecht didn’t know Sims was an elected official until Monday, but the April 18 confrontation outside of Planned Parenthood has caused national outrage.
Garecht says she was out front of the Planned Parenthood facility located on the corner of 12th and Locust Streets in Center City with her 13- and-15-year-old daughters and their 15-year-old friend when Sims approached them.
According to Garecht, they were “primarily there to pray.”
“I was concerned to keep my girls safe,” Garecht said. “I thought it was very important that I stay calm for their sake. Out of an abundance of caution, we did file a report with our local police because our children were trying to be identified on the internet.”
The video in question was one of two uploaded by Sims. Both have since gone viral and one showed him harassing a woman quietly praying outside the clinic.
What Garecht says made her so upset was the apparent $100 bounty Sims put on identifying the three teenagers.
“I don’t need an apology from him,” Garecht said. “I’m an adult. I’ve already forgiven him.”
Garecht said she simply wants Sims to address his own actions toward the teenagers and offer them a direct apology.
“Absent the pro-life issue, this was about an adult interacting with minors in an aggressive manner and an adult infringing on minors’ speech,” Garecht said.
For the past two days, CBS3 has tried reaching Sims but to no avail.
On Tuesday, he did release a public video on his Twitter account admitting that he did act aggressively.
“What I should have shown you in that video was protesters gathered together to pray at – not to silently pray for people coming in and out of Planned Parenthood,” Sims said in the video. “I was aggressive. Two wrongs don’t make a right and I know I can do better, and I will do better for the women of Pennsylvania.”
-CBSPhilly.com’s Tom Dougherty contributed to this report.