Westfield Woman Charged with Hoax Bomb Threat Against Boston Children's Hospital
BOSTON – A Westfield woman was arrested and charged today in connection with a hoax bomb threat made against Boston Children’s Hospital.
Catherine Leavy, 37, was charged with one count of explosive materials - willfully making a false bomb threat. She was arrested this morning at her home in Westfield and, following an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein, was detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Sept. 16, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.
According to the charging documents, in August 2022, federal agents began monitoring threats made against Boston Children’s Hospital and its employees. Among the wide range of healthcare services it provides, Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) program – the first major healthcare program in the United States to focus on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents.
On Aug. 30, 2022, Boston Children’s Hospital received a telephonic bomb threat, in which the caller allegedly said, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos.” As a result of the call, the hospital and surrounding area was placed on lockdown status and a bomb squad was dispatched. An investigation determined no explosive devices were located at Boston Children’s Hospital. Law enforcement obtained subscriber and call detail records and location information for the phone number that called-in the bomb threat. Records obtained allegedly indicated the phone number was subscribed in Leavy’s name and that it pinged off a cell tower nearby Leavy’s residence at the time the bomb threat was made.
During a search of Leavy’s residence this morning pursuant to a federal search warrant, the phone used to make the threat from Leavy’s residence was recovered.
The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Westfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nadine Pellegrini and Jared C. Dolan, Chief and Deputy Chief of Rollins’ National Security Unit, respectively, are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.