School Therapist Seen in Viral Photo at Capitol Riot Arrested

School Therapist Seen in Viral Photo at Capitol Riot Arrested a woman holds a sign reading the children cry out for justice Protesters in the Senate chamber Jan. 6 (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Thursday, 14 January 2021 05:05 PM

A former occupational therapist for a Cleveland, Ohio, school system was arrested by the FBI on Thursday and faces charges related to the riots at the U.S. Capitol building that left five people dead.

Christina Priola, 49, is the woman seen in a viral photograph shot by a Getty Images photographer holding a sign reading, "The Children Cry Out for Justice." She can be seen standing next to the seat where Vice President Mike Pence had been seated moments earlier.

A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claims Priola, 49, unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds, engaged in unlawful activities on Capitol grounds and unlawful parading while at the Capitol.

Cleveland television station WKYC reported she faces up to two years in prison on the charges.

Priola turned in a resignation letter the day after the riots, only after social media users identified her from the viral photograph, the station reported. In the letter, she cited not wanting to take a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to in-person learning and a desire to change careers to fight "the global evil of human trafficking and pedophilia, including in our government and children's services agencies."

She also said she does not wish to continue paying union dues she said "fund people and groups that support the killing of unborn children."

School district spokesperson Roseann Canfora told the station last week, "while CMSD deeply believes in the right of any individual to peacefully protest, as many did on the Capitol plaza on Wednesday afternoon, the district deeply condemns the actions of those involved in the riots inside the Capitol and on the Capitol grounds."

Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski said in a separate statement the Capitol attack was an "insurrection."

"It is the exact opposite of what we teach our students," Obrenski said. "Anyone who participated must bear the very serious consequences of their actions."