Moms for Liberty leader turns out to be a convicted sex offenderTravis Gettys
November 20, 2023 9:49AM ET
File photo of an inmate in handcuffs at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana, California May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A Republican pastor who coordinates the faith-based outreach for the Philadelphia chapter of Moms for Liberty was convicted a decade ago of sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Phillip Fisher Jr., who leads the Center of Universal Divinity in Olney, helps connect the right-wing group with local faith leaders to boost membership, and other leaders say they're shocked to learn he pleaded guilty in 2012 to a felony count of aggravated sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy when he was 25, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fisher blames his conviction on a political action committee for perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, which he had worked for but was trying to break free of what he now calls a "cult."
“It was a political situation that happened between me and Lyndon LaRouche,” Fisher said. “It was a member of his camp, his party, that made the accusation. They pushed it through. It was really a railroad job.”
His criminal history stunned Vince Fenerty, chair of Philadelphia’s Republican City Committee, who demanded and received Fisher's resignation as leader of the GOP's 42nd Ward.
A national spokesperson for Moms for Liberty did not respond to a request for comment, but Sheila Armstrong, another GOP ward leader who chairs the local Moms for Liberty chapter, expressed surprise, saying that she had just received from the state Department of Human Services a “child abuse history certification” in Fisher's name so he could volunteer for an upcoming Christmas party for an autism nonprofit that she leads.
Fisher was sentenced to three years in prison and given credit for spending nearly 20 months in jail awaiting trial, and he said he agreed to plead guilty to get out of jail, where he said he experienced violence from other prisoners.
“At the time, I was the victim,” Fisher said. “What they did was basically trumped up charges to drown out the complaints that I was making on the issues of human rights.”
Fisher is registered on a sex offender database maintained by the Illinois State Police, and that information is also listed on the National Sex Offender Website maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“I never went out of my way to hide anything,” Fisher said. “I’m in the database. It’s an easy search.”