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Westfield woman accused of Boston Children’s Hospital bomb threat due in court Friday

MassLive.com 9/16/2022 Will Katcher, masslive.com

A Westfield woman accused of phoning in a hoax bomb threat to Boston Children’s Hospital, as its clinic caring for transgender young people faced a torrent of threats and abuse, will appear in a federal court in Boston on Friday.

Catherine Leavy, 37, was arrested Thursday at her Westfield home by FBI agents investigating an Aug. 30 bomb threat that prompted the evacuation of the Boston medical center.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said Leavy told a hospital phone operator: “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital. You’d better evacuate everybody, you sickos.”

Boston Children’s Hospital has in the last month faced a disturbing pattern of threats related to its youth transgender health program, which was targeted by right-wing social media accounts with misleading claims about its care.

“While free speech is indeed the cornerstone of our great nation, fear, intimidation and threats are not,” Rollins said in mid-August, as the hospital scrambled to respond to what it described as “a large volume of hostile internet activity, phone calls and harassing emails including threats of violence toward our clinicians and staff.”

Leavy was charged with one count of making a telephonic bomb threat, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. She has been held since her arrest Thursday morning and is due in United States District Court in Boston Friday for a detention hearing.

Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said Leavy was arrested without incident and that investigators seized the cell phone that made the threat.

The FBI meanwhile continues to investigate dozens of other threats made against the hospital in the last month, including, a second hoax bomb threat, Bonavolonta and Rollins said.

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