Wilmington Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Mosque and Illegally Possessing Firearms and Child Pornography
BOSTON – A Wilmington man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with making threats over Facebook to burn a local mosque, unlawfully possessing dozens of firearms, ammunition and child pornography.
Patrick Keogan, 44, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty to two counts of making a threat over Facebook to injure or intimidate another individual or to unlawfully damage or destroy a building by means of fire; one count of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition; and one count of possessing child pornography. He has been in custody since his arrest in July 2016. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for May 15, 2017.
Followign the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, on Nov. 13, 2015, Keogan posted threatening images on the Facebook page of 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 posted the same threatening image on the Facebook page of the Islamic Society of Northeastern University (ISNU).
Warrants authorizing searches of Keogan’s Facebook account revealed multiple posts that approved of 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!”
Keogan’s Facebook account also showed that he had been buying, selling, trading, building, modifying, possessing, and shooting firearms and ammunition, despite his prohibition from doing so as a convicted felon. A GPS tracking device on Keogan’s car, placed pursuant to a warrant, allowed federal agents to track Keogan to a gun store in New Hampshire on or about May 1, 2016, where he 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. Upon Keogan’s arrest in July 2016, authorities searched his residence and found dozens of firearms, including light machine guns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. A later search of Keogan’s iPhone and iPad revealed he was in possession of child pornography.
The charging statutes for the threats and firearms/ammunition charges each provide for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervisory release, a fine of $250,000, and forfeiture of the firearms and ammunition. The charging statute for the child pornography charge provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, supervised release for at least five years and maximum of life, restitution, a fine of $250,000, and forfeiture. 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.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Mickey D. Leadingham, 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. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland of Weinreb’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team is prosecuting the case.