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FBI charges Massachusetts woman with bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital

The FBI said Thursday that an arrest was made in connection with a bomb threat against Boston Children’s Hospital last month.

Catherine Leavy of Westfield, Massachusetts, was arrested without incident and charged with one count of making a false bomb threat over the phone, according to charging documents filed in the US District Court for Massachusetts. She faces up to five years in prison.

FBI Special Agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta said at a news conference Thursday that the threat was one of “well over a dozen” against Boston Children’s Hospital. He said authorities are investigating others.

Boston Children’s Hospital had been the target of “a sustained campaign of harassment based on the dissemination of information online” about trans medical care at the hospital, Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins said at the news conference.

A person who called the hospital on August 30 is alleged to have said, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital. You better evacuate all you psychos.”

Several children’s hospitals, notably Boston Children’s, have been the target of a far-right bullying campaign for months, led by anti-trans influencers with millions of collective followers who have spread misinformation about the gender-affirming treatment of transgender children. hospitals for minors. Influencers have also waged anti-LGBTQ campaigns against schools and libraries that have been featured on conservative news shows.

Police investigated another threat to Boston Children’s at around 11:30 am ET on Friday, the second to warrant a police response in less than two weeks.

In the past week, some of the same influencers have begun to express doubt that the bomb threat was real. On Wednesday, one of the main proponents of the harassment campaign, Chaya Raichik of the LibsOfTikTok influencer account, tweeted an email response from Boston police saying the threat did not come through 911. “Many questions remain. Will any journalist investigate? Raichik tweeted to his 1.3 million followers on Twitter.

Raichik did not respond to a request for comment.

Boston Children’s Hospital said its focus remains on its patients. “We will continue to focus on providing the highest quality care and will work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and our security and emergency response teams, to ensure the safety of everyone at our hospital,” hospital officials said in a statement. communicated on Thursday. night. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting transgender patients, their families, and the LGBTQ+ community.”

The FBI announcement comes a day later a California man pleaded guilty in the same court for threats to Merriam-Webster offices.

The dictionary publisher closed its offices in Springfield, Massachusetts, after the man, Jeremy David Hanson, sent the company a threat in October to “shoot and bomb their offices for ying and creating false definitions to pander to the transgender mob.” . The threat came shortly after the dictionary made changes to use gender-inclusive definitions of some words.

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