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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ventura County Man Pleads Guilty to Making Death Threats and Bomb Threats to a Nonprofit and Reproductive Health Centers

A Ventura County man pleaded guilty today to federal criminal charges making threatening telephone calls last year, including to a Planned Parenthood office on the day the United States Supreme Court overturned its Roe v. Wade decision.

Nishith Tharaka Vandebona, 34, of Oxnard, but who lived in Camarillo during the offenses, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of threatened forcible intimidation regarding the obtaining and provision of reproductive health services under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. He also pleaded guilty to one felony count of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce.

At today’s hearing, United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner ordered Vandebona remanded into federal custody.

According to his plea agreement, in February and June of 2022, Vandebona used an internet application to create anonymous telephone numbers to make the threatening calls.

During the spring of 2022, there was news coverage that the Supreme Court was considering overturning Roe, its 1973 decision that recognized a constitutional right to abortion, after an initial draft of the new opinion was leaked.

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court published a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe and ruled that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.

Vandebona admitted in his plea agreement that on the same day, using an anonymous number, he left a voicemail message containing death threats with Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, a Santa Barbara-based reproductive health services organization.

On June 25, 2022, Vandebona called Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and spoke with a call center specialist. Vandebona said, “I’m calling to let you know that I’m going to come in there and kill all of you, including your staff and your security. You got it? You’re overdue for an attack.”

Within an hour, Vandebona telephoned Planned Parenthood Los Angeles again and made several death threats, including “I’m gonna come in there and murder your staff.”

Prior to the threats to the Planned Parenthood facilities, Vandebona called in a bomb threat in February 2022 to the office of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a Ventura-based non-profit organization that advocates for “zero population growth,” primarily through immigration restrictions.

Vandebona admitted to using anonymous numbers he obtained from the internet to make threatening phone calls to CAPS. In one of the calls, he said, “I’m gonna come in there and kill all of you, dude. Be careful.”

In another call to CAPS in February 2022, Vandebona said, “I’m gonna come in there, plant a bomb, and kill as many white Americans as possible. You understand that? Servicemen, families, everybody.”

Judge Klausner scheduled an October 2 sentencing hearing, at which time Vandebona will face a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison for the FACE Act count and up to five years in federal prison for the transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce count.

The FBI investigated this matter. The Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Monica Police Department, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office have assisted in this investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Frances S. Lewis and Julius J. Nam of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section are prosecuting this case.

Anyone who has information about incidents of violence, threats, and obstruction that target a patient or provider of reproductive health services or damage and destruction of reproductive health care facilities, should report that information to the FBI at www.tips.fbi.gov.

For more information about clinic violence, and the Department of Justice’s efforts to enforce FACE Act violations, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/national-task-force-violence-against-reproductive-health-care-providers.

Read more at the Justice Department

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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