Catherine Leavy of Westfield yesterday pleaded guilty to two federal counts for calling in a bomb threat to Children's Hospital on Aug. 30, 2022 as part of a wave of threatened violence against the hospital and its doctors spurred by online transphobes making fake claims that the hospital was mutilating children.
Leavy formally 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. According to the docket for her case in US District Court in Boston:
The court finds the defendant fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea, finds the plea knowing and voluntary, and accepts the plea, the defendant is now adjudged as Guilty. The defendant has been accepted into a Restorative Justice program and asks for the sentencing hearing to be scheduled in March to allow her to complete the program. Sentencing set for 3/19/2024 02:00 PM in Courtroom 13.
Restorative justice is a concept under which Leavy and her victim, in this case, the hospital, start a process in which Leavy will admit guilty for her actions and then work toward ways she can make amends for them.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case, on Aug. 30, Leavy called the hospital switchboard - a couple weeks after doctors began receiving death threats:
[Operator]: Boston Children's hospital, this is [name], how may I help you?
[Subject]: There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos.
The hospital was put into lockdown and police shut a couple of blocks around it as bomb-squad officers searched for an explosive device that did not actually exist.
Investigators pretty quickly zeroed in on Leavy through the use of phone records:
On September 15, 2022, FBI agents interviewed LEAVY at her residence. The interview was recorded. LEAVY initially denied knowing the location of her cellular telephone and denied making the threat to BCH on August 30, 2022. Agents continued to interview LEAVY and played an audio-recording of the August 30, 2022, phone call to BCH. Agents also told LEAVY that phone records reflected that her phone was used to make the threat. During the interview, LEAVY expressed disapproval of BCH on multiple occasions. When agents further questioned her based on those beliefs, LEAVY admitted that she called BCH on August 30, 2022, and made the threat. LEAVY stated that she had no plan or intention to actually bomb BCH.
While at LEAVY's residence, FBI agents recovered the Target Telephone from LEAVY's bedroom pursuant to a federal search warrant.
On Sept. 9, somebody else called in a bomb threat to the hospital.
On Sept. 18, a small group of transphobes picketed the hospital across the street, but were outnumbered by police and reporters.
Things quieted down until Nov. 16, when somebody e-mailed a threat that bombs had been placed at the hospital and at the homes of three doctors.