A violent attack on a senior citizen that was collecting signatures for a pro-life petition this past July has led police to naming a suspect in a previously unresolved string of rape cases.
As previously reported, 69-year-old Everett Stadig was attacked by a bystander while gathering signatures for Personhood USA at a local grocery store in Colorado. Stadig suffered numerous injuries from the assault, including a broken hip, which required surgery.
“He said, ‘You don’t have a right to be here!’” Stadig told reporters, explaining that his attacker had begun yelling and using profanity. “And I said, ‘I do have a right to be here. This is a Colorado Petition Drive.’ Then, he grabbed my petition pad, and with the same movement threw me to ground, and I was hurt so bad I couldn’t get up.”
Stadig was sitting on a bicycle at the time of the assault.
“After he threw me off the bicycle, he proceeded to leave,” he explained. “I was trying to get people to call the police … to get that man’s license [plate] number, because I couldn’t do it.”
A woman soon stepped up to quickly jot down the information, which was later provided to police.
But, Stadig said that he remained on the ground for several minutes.
“There were people around,” he recalled.“But no one offered to help me up.”
Upon tracing the license plate number back to the attacker, William Costello, and placing him under arrest, police took a DNA sample from the man due to a state law that requires suspected felons to be identified in this manner. After analyzing the DNA, it has now been discovered that the sample matches DNA from three rape cases from 2008 to 2011 — one of them involving a child. Up to this point, the cases had remained open as a suspect was not able to be identified.
Now, in addition to being charged with assault for attacking Stadig, Costello is facing two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of sexual assault on a child and three counts of felony sexual assault.
“William Costello stands accused as a serial rapist, and as the perpetrator of unthinkable harm,” said Jennifer Mason, Personhood USA spokesperson. “Not only did he make it abundantly clear to Everett Stadig that he was violently opposed to the personhood rights of innocent children, he is accused of a violent denial and violation of the personhood rights of his victims as well. While Everett’s injuries are healing, we pray for the victims of these heinous crimes and rejoice that a violent criminal is behind bars.”
Stadig is reported to have continued collecting signatures while in the hospital, which sought to place an initiative on the Colorado ballot that would add an amendment to the state constitution recognizing unborn children as persons protected under the law. Nurses and visitors alike agreed to participate in his petition drive.
It had been just two days prior to the attack that the home of Personhood USA president Keith Mason was vandalized in the middle of the night while he and his pregnant wife and their three children were sleeping. Profanity and images of coat hangers were spray painted all over the siding of the house, and a large rock was heaved at the front door, shattering glass onto the porch and throughout the living room. The children’s toys and items for the new baby were also covered in shards of glass.
“It is shocking to consider that someone would be so cruel and heartless to attack a home with a pregnant woman and small children inside,” Mason stated. “Apparently, the pro-choice crowd has no more compassion for born children than they do for the preborn.”
However, he said that all of the hardships that they have faced this year will not deter them from standing for life.
“Not only are these hateful attacks uncalled for, but they have renewed our resolve to press forward,” Mason declared.