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BOSTON – A Westfield woman pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to calling in a hoax bomb threat against Boston Children’s Hospital.
Catherine Leavy, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false bomb threat and one count of intentionally conveying false or misleading information that a bomb was on the way to Boston Children’s Hospital. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for March 19, 2024. Leavy was initially arrested and charged by criminal complaint in September 2022 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2022.
In August 2022, law enforcement 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 – a healthcare program focused on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents.
On Aug. 30, 2022, Boston Children’s Hospital received a telephonic bomb threat in which the caller 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 the hospital. Subscriber and call detail records and location information for the phone number that called in the threat determined that the phone number was subscribed in Leavy’s name. In addition, cell tower data indicated the phone was nearby Leavy’s residence at the time the bomb threat was made.
During a search of Leavy’s residence on Sept. 15, 2022, the phone used to make the threat was recovered. In an on-scene interview with law enforcement, Leavy expressed disapproval of Boston Children’s Hospital on multiple occasions. Leavy also admitted that she called in the threat to Boston Children’s Hospital on Aug. 30, 2022, but stated that she had no plan or intention to actually bomb the hospital.
The charge of making a false bomb threat provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of intentionally conveying false or misleading information provides for a sentence of up to five 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.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Westfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Dolan, Deputy Chief of the National Security Unit, is prosecuting the case.