Home Medical Malpractice FBI announces arrest in hoax targeting Boston Children’s Hospital

FBI announces arrest in hoax targeting Boston Children’s Hospital

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Federal agents have arrested a western Massachusetts woman in connection with a bomb threat hoax targeting Boston Children’s Hospital, officials announced Thursday.U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins announced the arrest of a woman from Westfield in connection with an anonymous bomb threat on Aug. 30 that drew a heavy police presence and forced the closure of area roads. Court records indicate the caller told a hospital operator, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody, you sickos.”After an investigation, no bomb was found.Rollins said investigators identified a cellphone account owned by Catherine Leavy, of Westfield, that was used to make the threat.”She was arrested at her home earlier today, and the phone allegedly used to make the threat was recovered,” Rollins said. Leavy is charged with making a false telephonic bomb threat and appeared in federal court in Boston for a hearing on Thursday. Rollins said Leavy will be held pending a detention hearing at noon. “This alleged conduct is disturbing, to say the least,” Rollins said. ” Bomb hoaxes cause, fear, panic and a diversion of resources that have a real impact on our communities. The people that work at Children’s Hospital and the parents that bring their loved ones to Children’s Hospital are under enough stress.”Boston Children’s Hospital was also the target of a bomb threat last week, which led to an increased police presence and extra precautions at the facility. The criminal charge announced Thursday was not related to the most recent threat, Rollins said. The threats follow other threats of violence made against doctors and other staffers over the hospital’s surgical program for transgender youths. Boston Children’s is home to the first U.S. pediatric and adolescent transgender health program. It became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers after they found informational videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients. The hospital removed the videos and began working with law enforcement. The critics cited the videos and snippets of previous language on the hospital’s website to claim that Boston Children’s Hospital was improperly performing gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomies, on minors and “young” children. The response was swift and relentless, with a barrage of users demanding the hospital be shut down and calling the surgeries “mutilation,” “barbarism” and “child abuse,” while accusing its doctors of engaging in malpractice or illegal activity.The hospital said it has received “a large volume” of hostile online messages, phone calls and harassing emails, including threats of violence.The hospital subsequently updated language across its websites to emphasize that to qualify for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 and meet certain criteria, including undergoing intensive medical and mental health evaluations and submitting letters of support.

Federal agents have arrested a western Massachusetts woman in connection with a bomb threat hoax targeting Boston Children’s Hospital, officials announced Thursday.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins announced the arrest of a woman from Westfield in connection with an anonymous bomb threat on Aug. 30 that drew a heavy police presence and forced the closure of area roads.

Court records indicate the caller told a hospital operator, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody, you sickos.”

After an investigation, no bomb was found.

Rollins said investigators identified a cellphone account owned by Catherine Leavy, of Westfield, that was used to make the threat.

“She was arrested at her home earlier today, and the phone allegedly used to make the threat was recovered,” Rollins said.

Leavy is charged with making a false telephonic bomb threat and appeared in federal court in Boston for a hearing on Thursday. Rollins said Leavy will be held pending a detention hearing at noon.

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

Boston Children’s Hospital was also the target of a bomb threat last week, which led to an increased police presence and extra precautions at the facility. The criminal charge announced Thursday was not related to the most recent threat, Rollins said.

The threats follow other threats of violence made against doctors and other staffers over the hospital’s surgical program for transgender youths.

Boston Children’s is home to the first U.S. pediatric and adolescent transgender health program. It became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers after they found informational videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients. The hospital removed the videos and began working with law enforcement.

The critics cited the videos and snippets of previous language on the hospital’s website to claim that Boston Children’s Hospital was improperly performing gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomies, on minors and “young” children. The response was swift and relentless, with a barrage of users demanding the hospital be shut down and calling the surgeries “mutilation,” “barbarism” and “child abuse,” while accusing its doctors of engaging in malpractice or illegal activity.

The hospital said it has received “a large volume” of hostile online messages, phone calls and harassing emails, including threats of violence.

The hospital subsequently updated language across its websites to emphasize that to qualify for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 and meet certain criteria, including undergoing intensive medical and mental health evaluations and submitting letters of support.



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