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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Grand Jury Indicts California Man for Making Violent Threats Against Boston Globe Employees

BOSTON – A federal grand jury has indicted a California man who was previously arrested and charged with making violent threats against Boston Globe employees in retaliation for the newspaper’s editorial response to political attacks on the media. 

Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encino, Calif., was indicted on seven counts of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injury another person. Chain was previously charged by criminal complaint and arrested on Aug. 30, 2018. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Sept. 24, 2018.

On Aug. 10, 2018, the Boston Globe announced that it was requesting that other newspaper publications around the country publish a coordinated editorial response to political attacks on the media. The coordinated editorial response was to be published on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.  Immediately following the announcement, Chain allegedly began making threatening calls to the Boston Globe’s newsroom. In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as “the enemy of the people” and threatened to kill newspaper employees. 

On Aug. 16, 2018, the day the editorial response was published in the Boston Globe, Chain called the Globe newsroom and threatened that he was going to shoot Globe employees in the head “later today, at 4 o’clock.”  As a result of that call, law enforcement officers responded to the Globe’s offices and maintained a presence outside the building to ensure the safety of the employees. 

The seven counts charged in the indictment relate to seven separate threatening phone calls that Chain allegedly made to the Globe newsroom. 

The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of no greater than five years, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Los Angeles Field Division; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles Division; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Los Angeles Division; the California Highway Patrol; and the Los Angeles Police Department. The Boston Police Department also provided assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney George P. Varghese of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the court documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

National Security
Updated September 18, 2018