U.S

Cleveland-area therapist eyed in Capitol riot arrested

The Cleveland-area occupational therapist who left her job shortly after the Capitol riot was arrested after investigators were able to link her to the siege, court papers show.

Christine Priola, 49, was charged Thursday with entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct and unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint for her arrest.

Last week, federal investigators visited Priola’s Willoughby, Ohio, home, where they searched her house, cars and the garage. They ultimately left with a plastic bag and multiple boxes, local news station WKYC reported at the time.

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Priola submitted a resignation letter to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CSMD) after social media users linked her to photos taken of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding in an attempt to overturn the presidential election, according to The Associated Press.

Her letter cited reasons for her departure related to switching career paths to focus on exposing human trafficking and pedophilia and not wanting to take a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to in-person school. Priola has not publicly confirmed if she is the woman seen in a photo of the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6.

Neither she nor the school district identified Priola as being on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. Attempts by Fox News to reach Priola by phone on Friday were unsuccessful.

Several social media users said they believed Priola is the blond woman seen in a photo inside the Senate Chamber holding a sign that reads “The Children Cry Out for Justice,” and wearing a red jacket pointing a cellphone at a man who is wearing a Trump flag. 

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An anonymous tip via a Twitter post is what led investigators to her. Upon searching Priola’s home, agents “recovered clothing, a sign, and other materials consistent with” those photographs, Thursday’s criminal complaint shows.

After her arrest, Priola was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond under the conditions of electronic home monitoring and house detention, a spokesperson for the Northern District of Ohio told Fox News. She has also been ordered to provide all passwords and submit to electronic device searches and is only allowed restricted computer access until her next hearing.

A date for the hearing has not yet been set.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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