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18-year-old gets probation in federal officer threat case

BOARDMAN — A Boardman man charged with threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer was sentenced to three years probation with standard and special conditions and a $100 special assessment fee Thursday afternoon.

Eighteen-year-old Justin Olsen appeared by Zoom video conference in U.S. District Court Northern Division of Ohio in Cleveland and was sentenced by Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.

Olsen pleaded guilty to the charge in December and was scheduled to be sentenced in May, but sentencing was postponed because of the COVID-19 health crisis. A second charge of making an interstate communication threat was dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

The charges stem from a June 2019 online post on a social media site, where user “ArmyOfChrist” — tracked to Olsen — wrote “in conclusion, shoot every federal officer on sight.”

Other posts from the now-deactivated account threatened to shoot up a gay bar and Planned Parenthood offices.

Olsen’s lawyer on Monday argued in a sentencing memorandum that probation was a valid punishment because Olsen already suffered “substantial negative consequences” of his actions, including losing a full ROTC scholarship to the University of Texas.

The document also states that Olsen was arrested Aug. 1 without incident and was “polite and cooperative” with officers. It also states that Olsen admitted to the posts, but claimed he was “joking,” noting Olsen took no action to follow up on the posted threat.

In addition, all firearms seized at the time of Olsen’s arrest belong to his father, Eric Olsen, who told police he was a competitive shooter and all the guns, accessories and ammunition were his, the document states. It also notes that based on Olsen’s lack of criminal history and the low level of the felony conviction, the maximum prison term would have been 12 to 16 months and Olsen was jailed from Aug. 12 to Dec. 23, which is almost half the minimum term.

No longer able to attend school in Texas, Olsen enrolled in the Flying High Inc. program in Youngstown to obtain a machining certification. He hopes eventually to attend a four-year college and pursue a degree in engineering, according to the court document filed Monday.

avugrincic@tribtoday.com

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