Nun, other peace activists found guilty for break-in

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) — An 83-year-old woman religious and two other peace activists were found guilty May 8 in a federal court in Knoxville of “intending to harm national security” by breaking into the nuclear weapon-producing facility and defacing its walls last summer.

The group: Sister Megan Rice, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus from Washington; Michael Walli, also from Washington, and Greg Boertje-Obed from Duluth, Minn., will be sentenced Sept. 23. They appeared in court May 9 asking to be released from prison while awaiting their sentence. A ruling on that appeal could be issued in mid-May.

After the July 28 break-in at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, the facility shut down for two weeks. The defendants, part of the group “Transform Now Plowshares,” intended for their actions to be symbolic, according to their attorney. In July, they cut through security fences, hung banners, strung crime-scene tape and hammered off a small chunk inside the most secure part of complex. They also splattered blood on the walls.

According to The Associated Press, federal officials said there was never any danger the protesters would reach materials that could be detonated on site or used to assemble a dirty bomb, a position stressed by defense attorneys in the case.

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