Elderly nun sentenced to 35 months for Tennessee nuclear break-in

Megan Rice, 84, is pictured in this undated handout photo from Transform Now Plowshares....

Megan Rice, 84, is pictured in this undated handout photo from Transform Now Plowshares. (REUTERS/Transform Now Plowshares/Handout)

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A U.S. judge sentenced an 84-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, on Tuesday to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee defense facility where enriched uranium for nuclear bombs is stored.

Fellow peace activists Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were sentenced to 62 months in prison. The three were convicted of cutting fences and entering the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in July 2012, embarrassing U.S. officials and prompting security changes.

"(Rice) does not have the extensive criminal records the others have. Her crimes are minimal in comparison to the others," U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar said.

Rice and the others admitted to spray painting peace slogans and hammering on exterior walls of the facility. When a guard confronted them, they offered him food and began singing.

The three were convicted by a federal jury last May of damaging national defense premises under the sabotage act, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and of causing more than $1,000 of damage to U.S. government property.

Prosecutors contended the break-in at the primary U.S. site for processing and storage of enriched uranium disrupted operations, endangered U.S. national security and caused physical damage.


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