SoCal woman sentenced for Catholic school bomb threats

FILE - Generic gavel on wooden table.

A California woman who threatened to bomb a Roman Catholic preparatory school for planning to publish same-sex wedding announcements was sentenced Friday to nearly 1 1/2 years in federal prison.

Sonia Tabizada, 36, of San Jacinto, was sentenced to time she already has spent in custody for making telephoned threats in May 2019 to Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., according to court records cited by the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Tabizada pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 to obstruction of religious belief while a second felony charge of transmitting bomb threats in interstate commerce was dropped, the paper said.

Visitation Prep, one of the oldest Catholic schools for girls in the country, had announced it would begin publishing same-sex wedding announcements in its alumni magazine to advance its teaching that "we are all children of God ... worthy of respect and love," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to her plea agreement, Tabizada learned of the decision and left a voice message threatening to burn and bomb the facility.

"Tabizada also stated that she was going to kill school officials and students," the statement said. "Several minutes later, Tabizada left a second voice mail stating that she was going to blow up the school and warned that she would commit ‘terrorism.' "

She was sentenced to 15 months and 13 days for "intentionally obstructing persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs."

"No school and no child should be subjected to death threats, because of their religious beliefs," said Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

San Jacinto is in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.