Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Moms for Liberty (M4L), the anti-LGBTQ+ “extremist group” that constantly vilifies LGBTQ+ people for “sexualizing kids,” hired a registered sex offender who allegedly had oral and anal sex with a 14-year-old boy to handle the religious outreach for its Philadelphia chapter.

The offender, Phillip Fisher Jr., was convicted in 2012 for the aggravated sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He pleaded guilty to one count of “aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor between the ages of 13 and 17” in the case, even though a grand jury indicted him in 2011 for 12 counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse. Despite his guilty plea, Fisher “insists that he did nothing wrong,” the publication wrote.

He is currently listed as a registered sex offender on Pennsylvania’s “Megan’s Law” website, which is maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police. He is also listed on the National Sex Offender Website maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Fisher said his conviction was “a railroad job” caused by the political action committee (PAC) for Lyndon LaRouche, a self-described “conservative Democrat” whose eight presidential campaigns invoked numerous conspiracy theories rife with antisemitism, homophobia, and racism. Fisher called the PAC a “cult” and said it set him up for the charges while he was trying to escape the PAC. LaRouche died in 2019.

He said he pleaded guilty to the one charge in a plea deal in order to escape the county jail where he allegedly experienced violence from other prisoners.

“At the time, I was the victim,” Phillips said. “I actually broke down. I said I’ll do whatever I have to do to get out of there.” He called himself “a known and respected pastor throughout the city,” with ties to different religious organizations across the local region.

Sheila Armstrong, chair of Philadelphia’s Moms for Liberty chapter, said she was surprised to hear about Fisher’s conviction. The local chapter itself didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Armstrong said that Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) recently sent her a “child abuse history certification” showing that “no records exist” in the state’s database showing Fisher “as a perpetrator of an indicated or founded report of child abuse.” A DHS spokesperson said that the state’s Child Protective Services Law doesn’t consider all criminal convictions involving minors as “child abuse.”

He was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of supervised release for his guilty plea.

This past summer, Fisher helped organize the M4L’s second annual national conference in Philadelphia. The conference speakers included three front-running Republican presidential candidates — former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley — as well as North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (a man who considers LGBTQ+ people “demonic” “filth”), James Lindsay (the second most prolific anti-LGBTQ+ tweeter in the nation), and many other anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives.

Fisher currently works as pastor for the Center of Universal Divinity in Philadelphia’s Olney neighborhood. The center describes itself as “a Church by direction of the Lord and under the Holy Spirit, teaching the uncompromised Word of God.”

 M4L’s past activities include offering bounties for turning in teachers who discuss “divisive topics,” attacking the Trevor Project for trying to prevent LGBTQ+ teen suicide, trying to get a book about seahorses banned for being too sexy, complaining about a book about the Civil War because it portrays “white people as ‘bad’ or ‘evil,’” trying to get librarians arrested for offering “inappropriate books,” saying that two girls briefly kissing at a school function is “lewd” and “traumatic,” lobbying in Florida for the Don’t Say Gay bill, encouraging schools to ignore LGBTQ History Month, and suggesting that LGBTQ+ students be forcibly isolated from other pupils.

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