Woman charged with bomb threat against children’s hospital

Sep 15, 2022, 2:00 AM | Updated: 6:59 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Federal authorities on Thursday arrested a woman accused of calling in a fake bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital amid a barrage of harassment and threats of violence over its surgical program for transgender youths.

Catherine Leavy, 37, was arrested at her home in Westfield, Massachusetts, and authorities recovered the phone they believe she used to make the bomb threat on Aug. 30, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins told reporters.

The caller said: “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos,” according to court documents. The threat resulted in a lockdown of the hospital, and no explosives were found.

Leavy initially denied making the threat during an interview on Thursday with FBI agents, according to court documents. After agents told her that phone records indicated her number made the threat, she admitted doing so, an agent wrote in court papers. She “expressed disapproval” of the hospital “on multiple occasions” during the interview, the agent said.

Leavy is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Friday in Boston federal court, Rollins said. She is charged with one count of making a false telephonic bomb threat. It was not immediately clear on Thursday if she has an attorney to comment on her behalf.

Rollins did not comment directly on the alleged motive in Leavy’s case. But she condemned the barrage of attacks against Boston Children’s Hospital, which is home to the first pediatric and adolescent transgender health program in the United States.

“This alleged conduct is disturbing to stay the least,” Rollins said. “The people that work at Children’s Hospital and the parents that bring their loved ones to Children’s Hospital are under enough stress,” she said.

Boston Children’s Hospital thanked law enforcement for their work on the case.

“We will continue to focus on providing the highest quality care and work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – and our security and emergency response teams – to ensure the safety of all across our hospital,” the hospital said in an emailed statement. “We stand firmly by our commitment to support transgender patients, their families and the LGBTQ+ community.”

The hospital became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers last month after they found informational YouTube videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients. The hospital swiftly removed the videos.

Transition treatment is under attack in many states, with some labeling it a form of child abuse or barring Medicaid coverage. Critics argue that safety should be well established before subjecting youths to potentially irreversible treatments.

But many medical groups support allowing varying types of medical treatment for transgender youths, citing evidence that it can improve their well-being, although rigorous long-term research on benefits and risks is lacking.

The critics cited the videos and snippets of previous language on the hospital’s website to claim that Boston Children’s Hospital was improperly performing gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomies, on minors and young children.

The response was swift and relentless, with a barrage of users demanding the hospital be shut down and calling the surgeries mutilation, barbarism and child abuse, while accusing its doctors of engaging in malpractice or illegal activity.

The hospital has updated language across its websites to emphasize that to qualify for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 and meet certain criteria, including undergoing intensive medical and mental health evaluations and submitting letters of support.

Far-right social media accounts and news outlets have also targeted hospitals in Pittsburgh, Phoenix and other major cities for their gender-care programs.

____

This story has been corrected to reflect that the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s name is Rachael Rollins, not Racheal Rollins.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Sri Lanka's President Ranil Wickremesinghe meets Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Akasaka Pa...
Associated Press

Sri Lanka begins crucial debt restructuring talks with China

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president said Thursday his government has started debt restructuring discussions with China, an important step toward finalizing an International Monetary Fund rescue of the island nation from its worst economic crisis. President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Thursday that the initial talks will continue after China’s Communist Party […]
1 day ago
Destroyed Russian equipment is placed in an area at the recaptured town of Lyman, Ukraine, Wednesda...
Associated Press

Russian rockets slam into Ukrainian city near nuclear plant

KYIV (AP) — Seven Russian rockets slammed into residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia before dawn Thursday, killing two people and trapping at least five in the city close to Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, the governor of the mostly Russian-occupied region said. The strikes came just hours after Ukraine’s president announced that the country’s military had […]
1 day ago
Authorities and local residents save a migrant during a large-scale rescue operation on the island ...
Associated Press

Dramatic rescues as boats sink off Greece; 16 women dead

NEAPOLI, Greece (AP) — Residents of a Greek island pulled shipwrecked migrants to safety up steep cliffs in dramatic rescues after two boats sank in Greek waters, leaving at least 16 people dead and dozens still missing. The coast guard said the 16 bodies — all of young African women — had been recovered overnight […]
1 day ago
FILE - Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss makes a speech at the Conservative Party conference at th...
Associated Press

With division at home, UK’s Truss seeks to thaw EU relations

LONDON (AP) — After an acrimonious divorce and years of bickering, Britain’s government looks like it wants to make up with the European Union. The tax-cutting economic plans of the country’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, has her feuding at home with financial markets, the opposition and chunks of her own Conservative Party. But abroad, […]
1 day ago
FILE - Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to right-wing opposition party membe...
Associated Press

Israel’s Netanyahu leaves hospital after overnight stay

JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was released from a Jerusalem hospital on Thursday, his party said, a day after he was admitted complaining of chest pains. Netanyahu, 72, was taken to the city’s Shaarei Tzedek hospital a day earlier after feeling unwell at synagogue services for the Jewish fasting day of […]
1 day ago
FILE - From left, Moscow-appointed head of Kherson Region Vladimir Saldo, Moscow-appointed head of ...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Russia’s military woes mount amid Ukraine attacks

Even as the Kremlin moved to absorb parts of Ukraine in a sharp escalation of the conflict, the Russian military suffered new defeats that highlighted its deep problems on the battlefield and opened rifts at the top of the Russian government. The setbacks have badly dented the image of a powerful Russian military and added […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Woman charged with bomb threat against children’s hospital