Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli await their federal trial on Feb. 6, 2013, in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Nun Sentenced to Prison for Nuclear Facility Break-In

Sister Megan Rice sentenced after cutting fences and spraying human blood at the site.

Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli await their federal trial on Feb. 6, 2013, in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year-old nun, was sentenced to 35 months in prison for damaging a nuclear defense site in Tennessee.

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An 84-year-old nun was sentenced to 35 months in prison Tuesday for breaking into a nuclear defense site in Tennessee.

"Please have no leniency with me," Sister Megan Rice told the court at the hearing in Knoxville, the BBC reported. "To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me."

Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, and Michael Walli, 63, were convicted of damaging government property and damaging national defense premises by a jury last May.


Rice’s fellow accomplices were sentenced to 62 months in prison, Reuters reported. Rice’s shorter sentence was justified by U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, who said, "(Rice) does not have the extensive criminal records the others have. Her crimes are minimal in comparison to the others."

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The three peace activists broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July of 2012. They cut into fences surrounding the facility, spray-painted peace slogans and chipped a wall with hammers. They also hoisted banners and squirted human blood on a building in the compound that contained highly enriched uranium, CNN reported

After spending nearly two hours inside the site, a guard approached them. According to the BBC, they responded by offering him food and singing.

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The three belong to a peace activist group called Transform Now Plowshares.

"They're at peace about this. They're peacemakers, and they knew that they risked this," Joe Quigley, attorney for Walli, told CNN affiliate WATE in May. "Nobody is happy to go jail, but they understand."

Last March, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman testified before a congressional committee that the Department of Energy had taken "several major actions … to improve security" since the incident took place.