Nun, 84, gets three years in US prison for nuclear break-in
February 19, 2014 00:00
CHICAGO - An elderly nun who broke into what was supposed to be one of the most carefully guarded nuclear facilities in the United States was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Tuesday, local media reported.
Sister Megan Rice, 84, cut through fences and several layers of security at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee along with two other members of Transform Now Plowshares -- a pacifist group -- in July 2012.
They spent two hours in the complex before being caught by security guards.
In that time, they hoisted banners, spray painted messages like "work for peace not war" and tossed human blood on a building used to store and process the highly-enriched uranium used to make nuclear bombs.
The incident prompted a congressional review of security at US nuclear facilities.
Rice, who has been held in jail since her conviction last year, urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence for her crimes at a four-hour sentencing hearing.
"Please have no leniency on me," the Tennessean newspaper quoted Rice as saying. "To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor you could give me."
Federal judge Amul Thapar said he struggled to find the right sentence to balance Rice's past good works with the need to deter others from breaking the law to pursue political goals.