Woman charged with making fake bomb threat against Boston Children's

A Westfield, Mass., woman has been charged in connection with a fake bomb threat made against Boston Children's Hospital in late August, the Justice Department announced Sept. 15.  

According to charging documents, Catherine Leavy, 37, allegedly made the fake bomb threat as federal agents began investigating threats made against the hospital and its employees. Boston Children's had reported a harassment campaign against the hospital based on misinformation about its treatment of the young transgender community. The campaign centers on recent commentary about the hospital's Gender Multispecialty Service Program.

On Aug. 30, police investigated a report of a telephonic bomb threat at the hospital. According to prosecutors, the caller said, "There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos." No explosive device was located, but the hospital was on lockdown as police investigated.

Records obtained by law enforcement indicated the phone number used to make the bomb threat was subscribed in Ms. Leavy's name and that it pinged off a cell tower near her home at the time of the bomb threat, the Justice Department said. Authorities recovered the phone allegedly used to make the threat from Ms. Leavy's residence.

Ms. Leavy is charged with one count of explosive materials — willfully making a false bomb threat. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. 

An attorney for Ms. Leavy is not listed in federal court records, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper reported that an FBI agent wrote in a sworn statement that Ms. Leavy confessed to making the threat, adding that she never had intention to actually plant a bomb at Boston Children's. 

"We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to law enforcement for their vigorous and effective efforts in bringing to justice those allegedly responsible for the threats against our hospital and staff," Boston Children's said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We will continue to focus on providing the highest quality care and work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies — and our security and emergency response teams — to ensure the safety of all across our hospital. We stand firmly by our commitment to support transgender patients, their families and the LGBTQ+ community."

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