Houston man pleads guilty to synagogue bomb threats

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A Houston man pleaded guilty to calling in bomb threats to two city synagogues.

Dante Phearse, 33, appeared in a Southern District of Texas court on Monday to respond to two civil rights violations charges for using the “threat of force with an explosive device which allegedly obstructed members of the synagogues from enjoying the free exercise of their religious beliefs,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice issued March 27.

According to the indictment, Phearse called Congregation Beth Israel and Congregation Or Ami and threatened to bomb the synagogue buildings and harm its members, the Department of Justice said.

Phearse, 33, faces up to 30 years in federal prison. He will be sentenced on July 7.

The threats forced the religious school at Congregation Beth Israel to close for a day and extra security was hired to guard the building. Phearse also called in bomb threats to the City of Houston Municipal Courts building and a private business.

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