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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Alaska Man Sentenced to Over Five Years in Prison for Threatening Attack on Lafayette College in Northampton County

PHILADELPHIA, PA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Gavin Lee Casdorph, 23, of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay over $7,700 in restitution and a $1,000 fine by United States District Court Judge Edward G. Smith for making false threats against Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

In April 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of willfully making false threats in connection with claims he made online stating he planned to detonate several bombs across the Lafayette College campus. In 2018, while using the handle “BdanJafarSaleem.,” Casdorph posted on Twitter that he planned to bomb multiple locations on campus and pledged allegiance to ISIS. He included with his Twitter post an image of the ISIS flag and a photograph of several firearms. The defendant also sent a mass email to members of the College’s admissions staff containing similar disturbing threats and imagery.

Investigators quickly determined that the bomb threats were a hoax, and arrested Casdorph in Anchorage, Alaska in December 2018.

“This defendant thought he could make threats from the other side of the continent with impunity, but the dedicated agents of the FBI on this case proved him wrong,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Threats of mass violence and destruction, especially on school campuses or any public place, are taken extremely seriously by our Office and our federal partners. As was the case here, we will not stop until the culprits are identified, arrested and brought to justice.”

“The FBI takes all threats of violence seriously, as Gavin Casdorph learned the hard way,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “I hope today’s sentencing sends a message that hoax threats aren’t a joke, they’re a crime. Please don’t let keyboard courage short-circuit your future. Anyone who tries something like this shouldn’t be surprised when the FBI rolls up at your front door.”

This case was investigated by the Lafayette College Department of Public Safety, Easton Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Philadelphia and Anchorage Divisions. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph LaBar. Additional assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

Topic(s): 
Cybercrime
Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA 615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250 Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated August 4, 2022