Judge Sentences, Scolds Woman Who Took Son to Riot

Virginia Spencer and her husband brought their 14-year-old
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2022 12:35 PM CST
Woman Who Took Son, 14, to Riot Gets 90 Days, Scolding
Violent protesters storm the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. A North Carolina woman who brought her 14-year-old son into the U.S. Capitol during last year's riot was sentenced on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, to three months imprisonment. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she finds it “very hard to...   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

"This isn't like a school or a tourist trip," a judge told Virginia Spencer at her sentencing for her role in the Capitol riot. US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly told Spencer she was having a hard time understanding why she took her 14-year-old son with her on Jan. 6, 2021. Police officers and some of the rioters had weapons, the judge pointed out, CNN reports. "It must have been a traumatic experience to witness this kind of violence," Kollar-Kotelly said. "It’s a complete lack of judgment on your part." That was reflected in the sentence.

The North Carolina woman, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for illegally parading in the building, as well as three years' probation, per the AP. That's on the long end of sentences imposed so far on rioters for nonviolent misdemeanors; few of whom have received probation as well as jail time. The defense requested a year of probation with community service. Prosecutors recommended a three-month sentence plus three years' probation; the maximum is six months in jail. Their court filings said Spencer entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's offices and was in the mob that tried to get into the House chamber.

Spencer told the judge Friday that she was "very sorry" for her actions at the Capitol. Christopher Raphael Spencer, Spencer's husband and the boy's father, was with them and also was arrested. He hasn't been tried yet, but he's pleaded not guilty to several charges connected with the attack. So far, more than 70 people have been sentenced in the insurrection, the FBI reports, with more than 30 of them ordered to serve time. (One rioter got 63 months.)

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