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Man Nets 10 Years for Arson of Reproductive Health Facility

PENSACOLA, FL—Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, of Pensacola, has been sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison for the New Year’s Day arson that destroyed the American Family Planning Clinic in Pensacola, Florida. In addition to the arson conviction, Rogers was also sentenced for damaging a reproductive health facility. The sentence, handed down by Chief United States District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, was announced today by the Department of Justice.

In imposing the sentence, Chief Judge Rodgers departed above the defendant’s advisory federal sentencing guidelines range, noting that defendant’s criminal history category substantially underrepresented the seriousness of his actual criminal history. The court also ordered that, after serving his prison term and while on supervised release, Rogers must remain at least 1,000 feet away from any facility that is known by him to provide reproductive health care, including pregnancy termination services. Chief Judge Rodgers also ordered that Rogers have no contact with anyone known by him to provide reproductive health care services, to include pregnancy termination or any staff members of such an individual. She further ordered that Rogers not affiliate or associate with any organization advocating violence, harassment, protests, or acts of disobedience involving the provision of reproductive health services, including abortion.

“This defendant destroyed this clinic because of its lawful work in providing reproductive health services,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Such violent extremism will not be tolerated. The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute interference with services provided by the health community.” Pamela C. Marsh, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, added, “This successful arson prosecution resulted from the skillful collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement resources with the constant support and helpful guidance of the Department of Justice and, in particular, the Civil Rights Division. We will continue to enforce laws protecting all of the rights guaranteed our citizens under the United States Constitution and federal laws, including access to reproductive healthcare clinics in the Northern District of Florida. We simply will not tolerate the use of violence against these clinics, their employees, or the individuals they serve.”

The prosecution of Rogers was the result of the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Pensacola Police Department; the State Fire Marshals Office; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edwin Knight and Chiraag Bains, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

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