An Illinois man was sentenced on August 15 for the arson of the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center in Peoria, Illinois.
Tyler W. Massengill, 33, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $1.45 million in restitution. He previously pleaded guilty on Feb. 16 to malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage, the Peoria Health Center.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Massengill maliciously set fire to the Peoria Health Center on Jan. 15 because he believed his ex-partner had received an abortion there, and he was angry about it. Massengill believed that, if his actions caused a little delay in a person receiving services at the Peoria Health Center, his conduct may have been worth it. The fire resulted in significant damage to the Peoria Health Center.
“This defendant’s violent conduct severely damaged the Peoria Health Center and obstructed patients’ access to reproductive health services,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute such unlawful, destructive acts, and to protect the clinics that provide reproductive health services, as well as their patients and staff.”
“The defendant’s destructive actions in setting fire to the Peoria Health Clinic were reprehensible and limited the ability of women in our community to access important reproductive health services,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris for the Central District of Illinois. “We are grateful to our federal and local law enforcement partners for their excellent work on this investigation.”
“Massengill’s actions represent the very real threat posed by extremists in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge David Nanz of the FBI Springfield Field Office. “Protecting the American people from such extremists remains a top priority for the FBI and our team remains laser-focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals who cross the line from expressing protected speech to violating federal law.”
“Any violent act like this is unacceptable. Worse here, is that this defendant used violence to target health care providers and their patients,” said Director Steven Dettelbach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) . “I want to commend the ATF investigators, the prosecutors and our partners for taking action to protect the victims of this violent and potentially lethal arson.”
The FBI Springfield Field Office, Peoria Police Department and the ATF investigated the case, with assistance from the Peoria Fire Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna for the Central District of Illinois prosecuted the case with assistance from Trial Attorney Erin Monju of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.