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Man pleads guilty to making death threats against Central Coast Planned Parenthood

Posted at 8:05 PM, Jun 12, 2023

A Ventura County man pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of making death threats and bomb threats, including to a Santa Barbara-based Planned Parenthood, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced in a press release.

Nishith Tharaka Vandebona, 34, of Oxnard, 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, the release said.

Vandebona also pleaded guilty to one felony count of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce, the release said.

On June 24, 2022, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision which overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, Vandebona left a voicemail message containing death threats with Planned Parenthood of California Central Coast, which is based in Santa Barbara, the release said.

Vandebona left the voicemail message using an anonymous number he obtained through an unspecified internet application, the release said.

What was said by Vandebona in the voicemail to the Santa Barbara-based Planned Parenthood was not specified in the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

Vandebona admitted to making additional threats against other organizations, including Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS).

In a June 25 phone call to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, 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,” according to the release.

In a February 2022 phone call to CAPS, 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,” according to the release.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 2. The maximum sentence for the FACE Act violation is one year in federal prison. Vandebona faces a maximum of five years in federal prison for transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce, the release said.

The FACE Act is a 1994 law that made it a federal crime to, among other things, use the threat of force to interfere with or intimidate clinic workers or women seeking reproductive services.

Signed by President Bill Clinton, it was put forth in response to violence toward providers and patients of reproductive healthcare services.

The Santa Barbara Police Department assisted in the FBI’s investigation.