WASHINGTON (WPRI) — A North Kingstown man who took part in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building was sentenced to two months in a federal prison followed by home confinement.

Bernard Joseph Sirr, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of civil disorder earlier this year, while four other charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. Sirr admitted to traveling to the nation’s capital to attend a rally for then-President Donald Trump, then took part in a mob that clashed with Capitol Police officers that day.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden handed down the sentence on Tuesday morning. Along with the prison time, Sirr was give one year of supervised release and six months of home detention with electronic monitoring.

In court, Sirr apologized for his actions, saying he went to the nation’s capital to “stop something horrible,” but ended up letting his family and the country down.

“I had been told by the news and by social media that the election had been rigged and that votes had been stolen. I had been told our democracy would end if I didn’t act to save it,” he said to the court. “I carry an overwhelming shame for being influenced by the media and acting
the way I did. I was angry and frustrated. I was led by resentment, but I am the one
who allowed myself to be led.”

Sirr must also pay $2,000 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol building. He remains on bail and will report to prison at a later date. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide which facility he will serve his time.

At the time of his arrest in June 2022, Sirr was a reactor engineer at the R.I. Nuclear Science Center at the University of Rhode Island, a state job. He was fired a month later.

Members of his family attended Tuesday’s sentencing.

Sirr also apologized to law enforcement in his statement to the court.

“To the police and law enforcement affected that terrible day, I am sorry,” he said. “Though I never intended to cause you harm, I was part of a mob that threatened.”

In a sentencing memorandum filed last week, Sirr’s attorneys said their client is “ashamed of his conduct,” and is seeking a sentence that would spare him prison time.

“The reality is that people like Bernard were told lies, fed falsehoods, and believed that our election was stolen when it clearly was not,” Sirr’s lawyers wrote. “Regrettably, decent people like Bernard took such falsehoods and lies to heart. His love of country was used against him, and Bernard answered the call to stand up and defend our nation believing it was threatened.”

Two other Rhode Island men have been charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol. William Cotton, 53, of Hopkinton, is facing five federal felony and misdemeanor charges, including obstruction of law enforcement, engaging in physical violence in a restricted buildings or grounds and act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds.

Timothy Desjardins — the first Rhode Islander charged in connection with the attack — is currently behind bars at the Adult Correctional Institutions after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a charges stemming from a road rage incident and an unrelated armed standoff. He was given an 18-year sentence.

Desjardins was charged with six criminal counts related to Jan. 6 including “assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon.” Federal court documents allege Desjardins used a table leg to repeatedly hit law enforcement officers who were guarding the Capitol.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.