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Press Release

Plains Township Man Pleads Guilty To Firebombing Luzerne County Children And Youth

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

SCRANTON -The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Philip Finn, Jr., age 49, of Plains, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on October 9, 2019, before United States District Court Judge James M. Munley, to use of fire to commit stalking.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Finn admitted that on March 6, 2017, he used three Molotov cocktails to set fire to the Luzerne County Children and Youth Building to harass and intimidate two Children and Youth Employees. 

On July 11, 2017, Finn was indicted on charges of stalking, interstate communications and malicious damage to federal property by fire.  The indictment alleged that between March 3, 2017 and March 6, 2017, Finn used Facebook, Google and his cell phone to harass and intimidate two Luzerne County Children and Youth Services employees.  On October 2, 2018, an additional count of Interstate Communications and the charge of use of fire to commit a felony were filed against Finn. On May 14, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging Finn with attempted witness tampering. 

Sentencing is scheduled for January 9, 2020.        

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Finn faces a mandatory 10 years' imprisonment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated October 10, 2019

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