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Federal law enforcement officials investigating all threats against Boston Children’s Hospital after Westfield woman arrested 9/15/2022 Stephanie Barry,

BOSTON - A Westfield woman who called in one of dozens of threats to Boston Children’s Hospital over pediatric transgender healthcare admitted she threatened to bomb the facility on Aug. 30, according to a recently unsealed FBI affidavit.

Catherine Leavy made the call from her cell phone on Aug. 30, investigators say. The affidavit quoted the recorded incoming call at 7:45 p.m.

“[Operator]: Boston Children’s Hospital, this is [name], how may I help you?”

“[Subject]: There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos,” the caller said.

Leavy, 37, was arrested at her home and charged with one count of making a false telephonic bomb threat, according to Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins, who announced the arrest late Thursday afternoon from the Moakley Federal Courthouse.

“This alleged conduct is disturbing to say the least,” Rollins said. “Bomb hoaxes cause fear, panic and a diversion of resources that have real impact on our communities. The people who work at Children’s Hospital and the parents that bring their loved ones to Children’s Hospital are under enough stress.”

In 2007, Boston Children’s Hospital launched a unit specific to transgender and gender inclusive care for young patients called the Gender Multispecialty Service or GeMS. According to Boston Children’s Hospital officials, the unit provides the “highest level of individualized, safe, and affirmative care to gender-diverse and transgender individuals and their families.” It was the first major program in the U.S. to focus on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents, the hospital has said.

It became the target of “a sustained campaign of harassment” after misinformation was spread about surgical procedures the hospital provided on far-right websites last month, according to the FBI. The threats included individual threats of violence and death against staff members and threats of mass casualties, the affidavit said.

After Leavy’s alleged threat, the hospital was evacuated, placed on lock-down and young patients of all kinds were diverted to other medical facilities. A second bomb threat was leveled on Sept. 9, authorities confirmed.

“This behavior is nothing short of reprehensible and, let me be clear, it needs to stop now,” Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the Boston FBI office, said during the announcement Thursday. “People need to handle their disagreements over beliefs that are contrary to theirs civilly, without the threat of force or any kind of intimidation.”

Leavy was charged alone and is currently not suspected of acting in concert with others, Bonavolonta and Rollins said.

“But we always keep looking,” said Rollins.

After capturing Leavy’s cell phone number, federal agents worked for two weeks to pinpoint the phone’s precise location, according to the affidavit. Leavy initially denied making the phone call until agents played the recorded exchange for her, and showed her the phone records that led to her T-Mobile device.

“During the interview, Leavy expressed disapproval of BCH on multiple occasions. When agents further questioned her based on those beliefs, Leavy admitted that she called BCH on August 30, 2022, and made the threat. Leavy stated that she had no plan or intention to actually bomb BCH,” the affidavit says.

Leavy is scheduled for a detention hearing before a federal magistrate judge on Friday at noon to determine whether she can safely be set free on bail while awaiting trial. The charge she faces carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

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