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Press Release

Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Massachusetts Professor

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

BOSTON – A Rhode Island man pleaded guilty today to sending a series of violent and threatening e‑mails to a Massachusetts professor and a university.

Matthew Haviland, 29, of North Kingstown, R.I., pleaded guilty today to one count of stalking and two counts of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for Dec. 10, 2019. According to the terms of a plea agreement, the government will recommend to the Court a sentence of 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine. Haviland was charged in April 2019. 

Over the span of several hours on March 10, 2019, Haviland sent a Massachusetts professor a string of approximately 28 e-mails containing messages that included such threats as, “I will rip every limb from your body and eat it, piece by piece” and “I will bite through your eyeballs while you’re still alive, and I will laugh while you scream.” The professor to whom Haviland sent the threats has published and spoken in favor of abortion rights, and several of Haviland’s e‑mails made reference to abortion. In two successive e-mails, for example, Haviland wrote, “You will be held accountable for every f****** baby you murdered through your horrible deception of they are not humans” and “You will have your face ripped off and eaten by me, personally. I will enjoy raping your body after you’re dead. And that will only be the start.”

Haviland also sent several e-mails on March 15, 2019 to a professional school at the professor’s university. Those e-mails included the message: “You people are Evil, putrid, and somebody shoudl [sic] BOMB your school for spreading the idea that it’s okay to HATE people because of their race.” A later e-mail to the professional school said only, “You should be Murdered in cold blood.”

Haviland faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater, and restitution. 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 Joseph Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division, made the announcement today. Boston FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of Warwick and North Kingstown (RI) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian A. Pérez‑Daple of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.


Updated January 8, 2021