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Woman arrested in connection with false bomb threat made against Boston Children's Hospital

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 12, 2022
A woman has been arrested for allegedly making a hoax bomb threat against Boston Children's Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Boston Children's Hospital)
A federal grand jury has indicted a woman in connection with a false bomb threat she allegedly made against Boston Children’s Hospital back in August.

Catherine Leavy, 37, of Westfield, was formally charged with one count of making a false bomb threat and one count of intentionally providing false or misleading information that a bomb was being delivered to Boston Children’s Hospital. She will appear in federal court at a later date.

Leavy reportedly made the threat in a telephone call to the hospital on August 30, causing it to go into lockdown with a bomb squad dispatched. An investigation found no explosive devices located in the hospital.

Assessing the subscriber, call detail records and location information, law enforcement officers traced the number back to Leavy.

Officers searched her house in September and found the alleged phone used. She was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with one count of explosive materials – willfully making a false bomb threat. She was released on the condition that she keep away from the hospital, after a detention hearing at the time.

Agents in August began monitoring threats made against the hospital due to verbal attacks and criticism levied by far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers against its Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) program, which is the first in the U.S. to offer gender-affirming care to gender-diverse and transgender adolescents.

The threats were made after it published informational YouTube videos about surgical options for transgender patients, with perpetrators accusing it of improperly performing hysterectomies on children. The hospital says it only performs them on adults, reported NBC Boston.

The bomb threat comes just a year after the hospital was the victim of a cyberattack launched by hackers hired by the Iranian government.

FBI director Christopher Wray called it “one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve seen,” but said the FBI was able to successfully “stop the danger right away.”

If convicted, Leavy faces up to 10 years in prison for the false bomb threat charge and an additional sentence of up to five years for conveying false or misleading information, along with three years of supervised release for each charge. She also would have to pay fines of up to $250,000 for each.

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