Math teacher to stand trial in harassment of health officer
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A California community college math instructor with ties to the far-right, anti-government “boogaloo” movement was ordered to stand trial on charges that he sent threatening letters to a county health officer during the coronavirus pandemic.
Judge Linda Clark ordered Thursday that 55-year-old Alan Viarengo of Gilroy be held for trial for one felony count each of stalking and threatening Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, the Mercury News reported.
Viarengo was granted supervised release on $200,000 bail and barred from having any firearms. He had been in and out of jail since his Aug. 27 arrest, when authorities seized large amounts of firearms and explosives from his family’s home.
Court records show detectives found more than 100 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, tools for making ammunition and Confederate flags.
His attorney, Dennis Luca, did not immediately return a call Friday seeking comment.
Prior to this arrest, Viarengo was teaching math at Gavilan College in Gilroy, and as of Friday was still listed in the personnel section of the school website. But a spokesperson for the college confirmed that Viarengo is not currently teaching there, the newspaper reported.
Cody has been one of the nation’s most visible official proponents of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and wearing masks, which has led to threats and even demonstrations at her home.
She has previously acknowledged receiving threats, telling the Mercury News in July, “we’ve all taken more heat than we usually take. I try as much as possible to keep my head down.”
The letters were sent from April 8 to July 29, and some of them contained “boogaloo” slogans and imagery, according to a police report.
“I’m glad you are getting threats,” the person wrote in a June letter, according to the police report. “I posted your residence everywhere I could; I hope someone follows through.”
Some in the “boogaloo” pro-gun, anti-government movement have taken to protesting pandemic-related public health restrictions, carrying firearms and warning of violence and saying the directives by states and cities are a violation of their rights. The extremist movement uses a 1980s movie sequel as a code word for a second U.S. civil war.