A 55-year-old college teacher from Gilroy, California, will face trial for charges that he sent threatening letters to a health official over orders aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.
Alan Viarengo, who teaches mathematics at Gavilan College, faces two felony counts of stalking and threatening a public official. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in prison, respectively.
Between April 8 and July 29, Viarengo reportedly sent over two dozen threatening letters to Santa Clara County health official Dr. Sara Cody.
“You will pay a heavy price for your stupidity, [expletive],” one of the letters read, according to Mercury News. “You must go no matter how you go you stupid [expletive],” and “You are done … it’s over … say goodbye,” others said.
Fingerprint on Letter
Cody has faced criticism and threats for her cautious approach to loosening restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Shortly after signing a shelter-in-place order in March, she started receiving irate and profane letters, emails, and phone calls.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office then assigned her a security detail, responsible for collecting, vetting, processing, and documenting any threatening correspondence. The Sheriff Office Identification Unit processed the letters and identified a fingerprint belonging to Viarengo on one of them.
Viarengo was arrested on August 27 but was released on bail.