Iowa Man Sentenced for Making Threats Targeting Boston-Based Islamic Cultural Center
BOSTON – An Iowa man was sentenced today for 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, was sentenced in the Southern District of Iowa to four years of probation with the first six months to be served in home confinement. In August 2015, Ledford pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting in interstate commerce a communication containing a threat to injure after being charged in the District of Massachusetts. He was initially arrested in Iowa and his case was transferred to the Southern District of Iowa for his guilty plea and sentencing.
“Now more than ever it is essential to protect Muslims in our communities from misguided notions of their faith and traditions,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Islamophobia has no place in this Commonwealth or this county, and those who threaten Muslims must be held to account.”
“The FBI takes our duty to protect the civil rights of all Americans seriously, regardless of one’s race, religion or sexual orientation,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “We ask that anyone who feels their civil rights have been violated to come forward and report it.”
On Oct. 19, 2014, Ledford 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 molester.you 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 …” Ledford admitted that he knew that these messages would be viewed as threats.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa Nicholas A. Klinefeldt; FBI SAC Shaw, made the announcement today. The case was 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.