Cleveland, Ohio – Christine Priola, a former occupational therapist at the Cleveland School, was arrested Thursday morning and accused of participating in the attack on the US Capitol last week.
Priola, 49, appeared briefly in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland before being transferred to the District of Columbia by Magistrate Jonathan Greenberg. That’s where federal prosecutors charged the other two dozen.
Priola of Willoughby is accused of knowingly entering or staying in restricted buildings; entering violently; and illegal activities based on the Capitol. She was released on a bond, and her travel was limited to northern Ohio and Washington for court hearings. The public defender represented her at the hearing on Thursday.
Authorities said she was one of dozens of rioters in Washington. They proved during the Congress that Joe Biden was the winner of the presidential election, broke through the roadblocks and rushed into the Capitol.
The protesters initially participated in a rally outside the Capitol, where President Trump held a rally. Many people describe the storm in the building as a riot in support of Trump̵
Priola became a suspect after a Getty Images photographer took a photo in the U.S. Senate room during the protesters’ binge and break-in. This photo shows a woman at the front of the room with a slogan that says: “Children are crying for justice.” Several people on social media referred to the woman as Priola.
In the affidavit filed on Thursday, U.S. Deputy Marshal David Casulones said that the FBI received an anonymous tip on Friday, January 8, and the photo also named Priola as a woman. The authorities compared the photo of the woman in the Senate Chamber with other photos of the Willoughby woman.
On Friday night, the authorities searched Priola’s home. According to the affidavit of Cassulunes, they confiscated a laptop, two desktop computers and several thumb drives. The agent also recovered her clothes, and her figure “matches other photos of Priola taken on January 6,” Kasulones wrote.
Investigators can also track her movements via mobile phones. According to the deputy marshal’s affidavit, she was standing to the northeast of the Capitol at some point during the attack.
The day after the rally, Priola delivered a letter of resignation to the officials in a conspiracy letter. She said in the report that she refused to accept the coronavirus vaccine to return to the classroom and did not agree with union dues. “Union dues help fund people and groups that support the killing of unborn children.
She also said that she will “change the course to expose the crimes of human trafficking and pedophilia worldwide, including in our government agencies and children’s services.”
According to her personnel file, Priola graduated from Eastlake North High School, received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Capital University, and then entered Indianapolis University for a graduate degree. She started working as an occupational therapist at the Cleveland School in August 2000. She has an adult daughter.
“For many years, I have known that I want to work with children and help them grow,” Priola wrote to school officials. “I understand that development during the critical period of childhood helps to form the foundation for a healthy, safe and respectable life.”
In the performance evaluation, the supervisors praised her for her reliability and kindness in helping students with special needs.
“Christine is a hardworking professional,” a supervisor wrote in the early 2000s. “She is a team player who doesn’t complain. [Priola] Get along well with students, parents and teachers. She is very happy to work with her. “
She worked in the area for about twelve years before taking a year off. She returned in 2014. She was on vacation when attending a rally in Washington, DC.
A spokeswoman for the Cleveland School said that the district does not comment on personnel issues, “especially in the ongoing investigation.”
However, the region issued a statement stating, “Deeply condemn the actions of those involved in the riots in the Capitol and in the Capitol. The right to peaceful protest protected by the First Amendment is the foundation of our democracy. It is not forced. Take over and deliberately destroy our government.”
Priola’s personnel file provides a vivid narrative of her work, while court records provide a different perspective. Six years after the divorce, she changed her family name from Snyder to Priola in 2015.
She said in a document submitted by the Lake County Probate Court: “I don’t want this name anymore.” She changed her name to Priola, her grandmother’s maiden name.
Records show that she later remarried in May 2018. Seven months later, she filed for divorce.