Wilmington Man Charged with Threatening Arson to Boston’s Largest Mosque
BOSTON – A Wilmington man was charged and arrested today in connection with making threats over Facebook to burn a local mosque and harm Muslims and with unlawfully possessing ammunition.
Patrick Keogan, 44, of Wilmington, was charged in a criminal complaint with making a threat over Facebook to injure or intimidate another individual or to unlawfully damage or destroy a building by means of fire and of being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition. Keogan is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal this afternoon.
According to charging documents, on or about Nov. 14, 2015, Keogan threatened the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), a Roxbury-based cultural center that offers a mosque and educational, spiritual, and social services to the New England Muslim community. Keogan posted on the ISBCC’s Facebook page an image depicting a mosque in flames with lettering superimposed that stated “Burn your local mosque,” along with the statement “Hello scumbags,” next to a smiley face emoji. Keogan allegedly posted the same threatening image on the Facebook page of the Islamic Society of Northeastern University (ISNU).
Through a warrant authorizing a search of Keogan’s Facebook account, law enforcement investigators found posts that approved burning mosques as early as 2013. For example, in 2013 Keogan shared a post with the following summary: “On July 4th, Joplin, Missouri's Islamic Center — the city's only mosque — suffered roof damage after an unidentified man set it on fire by tossing a burning object onto the building.” Keogan wrote in response: “Somewhere out there is an unknown hero. The people’s champion. A true God amongst mortal men. May your days be many & troubles be few my good man.” On or about Nov. 17, 2015, Keogan posted a status update saying, “Canada enters the Mosque Burning Winter Olympics of 2016 early! Who will take the Gold? Who will take the Silver? and WHO will take the Bronze??? We'll have to wait til the snow clears to find out folks but lets keep our fingers crossed for some fierce competition! And remember- you (yes you) are a qualified competitor of your own nation- so get out there and help your Country be number one in this winter’s Mosque Burning Olympics!”
According to court documents, Keogan’s Facebook account also showed that, despite his statutory prohibition as a convicted felon from possessing firearms and ammunition, Keogan continued to buy, sell, trade, build, modify, possess and shoot firearms and ammunition. After obtaining a warrant to place a GPS tracking device on Keogan’s car, federal agents tracked Keogan to a gun store in New Hampshire on or about May 1, 2016. Keogan allegedly purchased two boxes of 8mm rifle ammunition and two bags of loose 8mm rifle ammunition, and then drove the ammunition directly back to his residence in Wilmington.
The charging statutes each provide a sentence of no greater than 10 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; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Lawrence J. Panetta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Wilmington Police Chief Michael Begonis, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Garland of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.