Protesters appear in federal court on Y-12 criminal charges - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Protesters appear in federal court on Y-12 criminal charges

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Sister Megan Rice, center, 82, and Michael Walli, back waving, 63, were greeted by supporters when they arrived at Federal Court Thursday in Knoxville. MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL Sister Megan Rice, center, 82, and Michael Walli, back waving, 63, were greeted by supporters when they arrived at Federal Court Thursday in Knoxville. MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL

KNOXVILLE, TN (News Sentinel) -- Three protesters are in U.S. District Court today to face charges of trespassing, a misdemeanor, and willful and malicious destruction of property, a felony.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled before Federal Magistrate Judge G. Clifford Shirley.

The three apparently traversed the partially wooded Pine Ridge on the north side of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in order to enter the plant during the dark, early morning hours of July 28 and ultimately reach the high-security zone known as the Protected Area.

According to the sworn affidavit of Eric Dugger, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General, the three protesters — Sister Megan Rice, 82; Michael Walli, 63, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57 — were able to cross the plant's initial boundary fence on the ridge near a Y-12 patrol road and then traveled about 600 meters, crossing Bear Creek Road at one point, until they came to a series of 8-foot-high fences loaded with alarms and sensors. Collectively, those fences form the plant's electronic Perimeter Intrusion Detection and Assessment System, which is supposed to alert security personnel to unauthorized entry.

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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