Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher sentenced Michael Marotta, age 26, of Sewell, New Jersey to three years of probation with a 30-day term of community confinement, preceded by an intensive in-patient drug treatment program for making threatening interstate communications. Marotta admitted that he used an anonymizing text message service to threaten physical harm to a Black woman and her family in Maryland.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Attorney General Kristen M. Clarke of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
“Hate-fueled racially motivated violence must not be tolerated and this office will aggressively prosecute those who stoke fear and hate in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron. “We will protect and defend the civil rights of all individuals who are harassed on the basis of race.”
"Hate crimes are a high priority for the FBI and FBI Baltimore works to reduce this targeted prejudice through coordination with our state and local law enforcement partners” said Thomas J. Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore field office. “The violence driven by bias against a person’s race has a devastating effect on our communities and those who engage in such a manner will endure consequences.”
According to Marotta’s plea agreement, on April 14, 2020, Marotta used an anonymizing mobile phone application, to send a threatening message to a Black Maryland woman. In the message, Marotta used racial epithets to describe the Maryland woman and her family, and he threatened to come to their home and do physical harm. As detailed in the plea agreement, Marotta wrote, among other things, that “I know where you live now, I’m coming to rape your family” and “eat my bullets.” As detailed in his plea agreement, Marotta claims he does not know the recipient-victim of the message, nor does the recipient-victim know Marotta.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kristen M. Clarke commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office and its Civil Rights Unit, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/civil-rights.
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