Arvada teen, Shannon Conley, pleads guilty to helping foreign terrorist organization ISIS

DENVER - A 19-year-old Arvada woman accused of trying to help a foreign terrorist organization pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

In court, Shannon Conley, wearing a muslim headscarf with her jail jumpsuit, told the judge several times that she understood the plea and what she was doing.

The judge said he wants psychological and personality assessments completed before he sentences Conley in January.

Prosecutors said Conley faces up to five years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

A federal criminal complaint states that between Sept. 7, 2013 and April 8, 2014, Conley, together with others, tried to provide material support and resources, including personnel and expert advice, to a foreign terrorist organizations Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, including Al-Qaeda in Iraq, aka the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), aka the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS), aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Conley, a Muslim convert, was arrested April 8 at Denver International Airport after telling FBI agents she was traveling to Syria to use her American military training from the U.S. Army Explorers to aid Islamic militants waging jihad -- or holy war -- even though she knew that it was illegal, according to federal court records.

She said "legitimate targets of attack" included U.S. military bases, government employees and public officials, the documents say.

Against her parent's wishes, Conley planned to marry a Tunisian man, who was fighting in Syria for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). She'd met the man online and communicated with him on Skype.

Authorities began investigating Conley on Nov. 5, 2013, after a call from the pastor at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada who saw Conley taking notes at the church.

Church officials have a heightened awareness about security because Faith Bible Chapel was the scene of a shooting in December 2007 when a man named Matthew Murray opened fire at the church's Youth with a Mission Training Center, killing two missionaries.

Print this article Back to Top