Christine Priola, Capitol Rioter Seen At Mike Pence's Desk, Quits School Job In QAnon Rant

A former schools therapist has been charged with multiple criminal counts over the storming of the U.S. Capitol after she quit her job, citing several conspiracy theories as the reason behind her decision.

Christine Marie Priola was photographed at Vice President Mike Pence's desk during the riots that erupted in Washington, D.C. on January 6 and left at least five people dead, including a police officer.

Holding a placard that read "THE CHILDREN CRY OUT FOR JUSTICE", the 49-year-old was photographed standing next to a fellow protesters who sat on the Vice President's seat in the Senate Chamber after the mob stormed the heart of U.S. democracy.

A day later, Priola resigned from her job as occupational therapist with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

"I will be switching paths to expose the global evil of human trafficking and pedophilia, including in our government and children's agencies," she wrote in a resignation letter dated January 7, which was released by the district to local TV station WKYC.

Claims members of the government are involved in a child-trafficking ring are entirely baseless, but consistent with several of the far-right conspiracy theories QAnon believers have wheeled out.

Among other things, the QAnon conspiracy theory claims, without a shred of evidence, that President Donald Trump is a key figure of an elaborate and secret war against a "deep state" controlled by Democrats and influential Hollywood figures who are otherwise heavily involved in child sex trafficking.

In her resignation letter, Priola added she was also against the coronavirus vaccine and opposed union dues that "support the killing of unborn children".

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, the former school therapist appeared before a federal judge on Thursday and was charged with violent entry and disorderedly conduct, knowingly entering a restricted building and unlawful activities on Capitol grounds.

The criminal complaint states that Priola was seen "occupying the seat of the Vice President of the United States" inside the Senate Chamber. Following her appearance in front of the judge, she was subsequently released on a $20,000 bond.

The storming of the Capitol was the climax of months of escalating rhetoric, during which Trump and some his closest allies repeatedly contested the outcome of the presidential election on November 3.

The president had raised the spectre of fraud even before Americans cast their votes in November and continued to do so on election night, when he prematurely claimed victory.

In the intervening three months, Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and several high-profile Republicans reiterated, without ever offering corroborating evidence, that the election was rigged in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

On the day of the riots, Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol.

"We will never give up," the president said as he addressed a large gathering of protesters close to the White House for around 70 minutes.

"We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved."

Thousands of rioters, many of whom wore Trump paraphernalia and carried Confederate flags, subsequently forced their way into the heart of American democracy, vandalizing offices and clashing with the police.

Protesters temporarily halted the tallying of Electoral College votes to ratify Biden's victory.

Congress eventually resumed the count and certified the election's results, with the president-elect set to be inaugurated on January 20.

US Capitol riots
Christine Priola (R) in the Senate Chamber on January 6 after a mob stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty