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Press Release

Iowa Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threats Against Boston-Based Islamic Center

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – An Iowa man pleaded guilty today on charges of threatening to shoot and kill Muslims by posting threats on the Facebook page of an Islamic organization in Boston.

Gerald Wayne Ledford, 57, of Clinton, Iowa, pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting in interstate commerce a communication containing a threat to injure.  Ledford was charged in the District of Massachusetts.  In June 2015, Ledford was arrested in Iowa and he pleaded guilty in a federal court in the Southern District of Iowa.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 13, 2015 in Iowa.

Ledford admitted that on or about Oct. 19, 2014, he threatened the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), a cultural center that offers a mosque and a variety of educational, spiritual, and social services to Muslims in New England.  Ledford posted two threats on the ISBCC’s Facebook page.  One post threatened, “Mohamed was a child rapist .a murderer and all will go to hell with you’re father satan..we will destroy you here and in your’re s**t hole countrys.”  The second post consisted of a photograph of a man bearing a long gun with the caption, “This is for you.followers of the piece of s**t Mohamed …”  At the plea hearing, Ledford admitted that he knew that these messages would be viewed as threats.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa Nicholas A. Klinefeldt; and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Theodore Merritt and Scott L. Garland of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team and Richard D. Westphal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Updated February 4, 2016

Civil Rights