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FBI accuses Massachusetts woman of bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital

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The FBI said Thursday that an arrest had been 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 a false bomb threat over the phone, according to documents filed in the Massachusetts District Court. 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 “more than a dozen” against Boston Children’s Hospital. He said authorities are investigating others.

Boston Children’s Hospital was subject to “an ongoing harassment campaign based on online dissemination of information” about hospital trans health care,

That’s what Rachael Rollins, the American lawyer for Massachusetts, said at the press conference. A caller to the hospital on August 30 is said to have said: “There is a bomb on its way to the hospital. You’d better evacuate everyone, sick.’

Several children’s hospitals, most notably Boston Children’s, have been the target of a far-right harassment campaign for months, led by anti-trans influencers with millions of collective followers who have spread misinformation about the hospitals’ gender-affirming treatment of minors. The influencers have similarly conducted anti-LGBTQ campaigns against schools and libraries that have been featured in conservative news programs.

Police were investigating another threat to Boston Children’s around 11:30 a.m. ET Friday, the second to earn a police response in less than two weeks.

In the past week, some of those same influencers began to question whether the bomb threat was real. On Wednesday, one of the main drivers of the harassment campaign, Chaya Raichik of the influencer account LibsOfTikTok, tweeted an email response from the Boston Police Department stating that the threat did not come through 911. “Many questions still remain. Will journalists investigate?” Raichik tweeted to her 1.3 million Twitter followers.

Raichik did not respond to a request for comment.

Boston Children’s Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an earlier statement, a spokesperson said the hospital has been the target of “hostile internet activity, phone calls and harassing emails, including threats of violence.”

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