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Press Release

Mississippi Man Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking and Antisemitic Harassment of Synagogues, Jewish-Owned Businesses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Donavon Parish, 29, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, entered a plea of guilty today before United States District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe to one count of cyberstalking and five counts of abuse and harassment using a telecommunications device. Parish also admitted to a special finding that he targeted his victims based on their actual and perceived religion.

According to a June 2023 indictment and superseding information filed last month, during April and May 2022, the defendant used a Voice over Internet Protocol service to make a series of phone calls to synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In these calls, the defendant spoke to individuals answering the telephone calls on behalf of their respective institutions, at which time he repeatedly referenced the genocide of approximately six million Jewish people during the Holocaust, stating, among other things, “Heil Hitler,” “all Jews must die,” “we will put you in work camps,” “gas the Jews,” and “Hitler should have finished the job.”

In total, the defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $1,500,000 fine and a $600 special assessment.

“Cyberstalking is already a serious violation and targeting victims based on their religion is a hate crime, which makes it that much more abhorrent,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “We and our partners will continue to work to hold accountable anyone who criminally misuses today’s technology to spread hate and fear.”

“Antisemitism has no place in our society,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Philadelphia. “Today’s guilty plea reinforces that we will pursue justice against those who threaten members of our communities with such vile threats. The FBI will continue to work closely with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure our citizens feel safe in the environments they live, work and play in.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Jeanette Kang of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Justin Sher with the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (Counterterrorism Section), with assistance from DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Updated June 18, 2024