Woman pleads guilty to making bomb threats against Catholic school for same-sex marriage notices
A woman from California has pled guilty to a federal hate crime after threatening violence against a gay-inclusive Catholic school in Washington D.C.
Back in May 2019, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School made a move to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community by stating that it would publish same-sex wedding announcements in its alumni magazine. Previously, it would deny requests from alumnae asking to have their same-sex unions announced.
In changing its stance, the oldest Catholic girls school in the country reasoned that “we are all children of God… worthy of respect and love.”
Sonia Tabizada, 36, learned of the announcement and left threatening voice messages to the school on May 15, 2019, according to the United States Department of Justice on Monday, Jan. 4.
In one message, she said she would burn and bomb the church, as well as kill school officials and students. She made another warning, stating that she would blow up the school and commit “terrorism.”
Tabizada is set to have a hearing on March 23 where she will be sentenced. By threatening to bomb Visitation Prep, she is guilty of intentionally obstructing persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs. She can be imprisoned for up to 20 years with three years of supervised release, and faces a fine of up to $250,000 (P1.2 million).
“The defendant made violent threats against high school students, religious leaders, and school officials based solely on her disagreement with a private school’s application of religious doctrine,” said Eric Drieband, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division.
“Tolerance and religious freedom are cornerstone values in our society and the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute violent threats motivated by bias,” he stressed. JB
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