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Man gets probation in threats to anti-doping chief

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COLLEEN SLEVIN | January 23, 2014 05:45 PM EST | AP

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DENVER (AP) — A Florida man who sent an email threatening U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart after the organization stripped Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles was sentenced Thursday to probation and community service.

Retired physician Gerrit Keats, 72, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating an interstate communications law.

Keats, of Clearwater, Fla., sent Tygart an email with the subject line "Nazi tragic Tygart." It was dated Oct. 24, 2012, two weeks after USADA released details of Armstrong's doping violations.

The email's six paragraphs were filled with foul language and racist innuendo.

USADA is based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Keats sent Tygart a letter of apology in November, saying he didn't recall writing the email tirade.

"I hardly knew of Mr. Armstrong, know nothing about bike racing and personally dislike biking," the letter said. "Why I was so upset and vehement, I have yet to truly understand."

Keats' lawyer, George Tragos, said Keats sent the email while he was under the stress of caring full time for his mother-in-law, who was suffering from extreme dementia.

Tygart told U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson that threats led him to hire private security at his home and that his children once had to run inside while playing soccer when a suspicious car approached their house.

Tygart said Keats should be punished, even if he didn't intend to carry out his threats, as a warning to others who feel emboldened to make threats from behind their computer screens.