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Missouri man sentenced to prison for arson at Planned Parenthood clinic

Missouri man sentenced to prison for arson at Planned Parenthood clinic
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A Missouri man was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday for attempting to burn down a Planned Parenthood clinic last year.

Wesley Brian Kaster, 43, of Columbia, was arrested in March last year nearly a month after he attempted to throw a firebomb inside the Columbia Health Center, according to a release from the Justice Department.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri said Kaster pleaded guilty to two federal charges.

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He also pleaded guilty to one count of maliciously using explosive materials to damage a building owned by an organization that receives federal financial aid and one count of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

"We will not tolerate the use of violence and arson as a means to achieve personal political or policy goals," Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the district, said in the statement. "This attack is the antithesis of everything for which the best ideals of this nation have always stood."

Prosecutors said Kaster admitted to setting the fire at the facility because "Planned Parenthood provided reproductive health services at the facility."

The clinic was not providing abortion services at the time of the attack, Planned Parenthood said.

The facility's damages were moderate, and the sprinkler system put out the flames in the building, court documents showed.

A federal public defender listed as a representative for Kaster declined to comment Wednesday.

In a sentencing memorandum, the attorney wrote that Kaster is a dedicated father of four and did not have a criminal background, adding that he served in the Navy for eight years.