California woman sentenced To 15 months for threatening to bomb Catholic School

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SAN JACINTO, Calif. — A 36-year-old San Jacinto woman was sentenced to time served of 15 months and 13 days for threatening to bomb a Catholic School in Washington, DC, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Sonia Tabizada, who pleaded guilty to charges of “intentionally obstructing persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs” in January, was sentenced for the crimes in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 247. 

In May of 2020, following the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School’s announcement that they would publish same-sex wedding announcements in their alumni magazine, Tabizada left the school a voicemail threatening to burn and bomb the church, as well as kill teachers and students. Several minutes after the first voicemail, Tabizada left a second saying she would commit “terrorism” and blow up the school.

“Tabizada used threats of violence to intimidate others because of differing religious views,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “Every citizen and community has the Constitutional right to exercise their own religious beliefs free from fear and discrimination. Defending civil rights is a top priority for the FBI and we will continue to work to protect the civil rights and freedoms granted to all Americans.”

After reports by the school, the FBI’s Washington Field Office conducted a criminal investigation which eventually resulted in charges being brought towards Tabizada. Her case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Kendra Briggs of the District of Columbia and Civil Rights Division Attorney Michael J. Songer.

 “The citizens of the District of Columbia and our country are entitled to freely exercise their religious beliefs and to be free from threats of violence based on bias—be it against religion, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is committed to protecting the civil rights of all our citizens and will do so by vigorously enforcing both federal and local hate crime laws” said Channing D. Phillips, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

“The free exercise of religion is one of our nation’s most sacred Constitutional rights,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “The FBI will continue to prioritize threats of violence and civil rights violations to ensure every citizen and community is free to exercise all of their protected liberties without fear and threats of violence.”

Tabizada was also sentenced to two years of supervised release under the court. If she wants to leave the country, she’s required to contact the court and request a modification of her special conditions.

The Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, which partially burned down in a 1993 fire, is located within the Archdiocese of Washington.

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