Christopher M. Thompson, 22, was sentenced today by Federal District Judge John W. Broomes to twelve months plus one day in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be followed by two years of supervised release in a plea bargain deal that allowed him to plead to one felony count of threatening communications. Three other counts were dismissed upon sentencing.
Judge Broomes remanded Thompson into Federal custody immediately after sentencing.
Thompson made multiple phone calls to the Operation Rescue office and to the cell phone of Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Vice President of Operation Rescue. During those calls, he threatened rape her daughters, rape her then murder her family. When Sullenger blocked his Kansas number, he switched to an Internet voice protocol to place continued threats from his computer.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart asked for a sentence of a year in prison while the defense attorney sought extended probation due to efforts that Thompson was making to deal with his drug addiction, anger, and mental heath issues. Thompson was said to be enrolled in anger management classes, a Batters Intervention Program, and was being treated by a therapist with drugs for his unspecified mental health condition.
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Sullenger and Mellissa Newman-Mariotti, wife of Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, made victim statements in court that explained the impact Thompson’s threats had on their families. While Sullenger was directly threatened, Newman-Mariotti had listened to a voicemail message Thompson left at Operation Rescue’s office and thought at the time he was threatening her own daughters.
Thompson, who appeared in court, made an apology to Sullenger and asked for leniency.
As part of Thompson’s supervised release, Judge Broomes ordered him to have no contact with Cheryl Sullenger and her family, including grandchildren. He is not allowed to have contact with Mellissa Newman-Mariotti and her family, nor can he have any contact with Operation Rescue and any of its employees.
“I am relieved that Mr. Thompson is in a place where he can continue to consider the consequences of his actions and take measures to amend his life,” said Sullenger. “I take no pleasure in his incarceration, but I believe that it was a just sentence that will be for the best of everyone involved. This is a step toward restoring the sense of security he took from our families. I will continue to pray for him and hope he can get the help he needs to become a productive adult and a good father to his two children.”