The Westfield, Massachusetts woman now faces up to 15 years in prison
The suspect accused of calling in last year’s bomb threat to Boston Children’s Hospital amid a wave of harassment has pleaded guilty, the Massachusetts District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
Westfield, Massachusetts resident Catherine Leavy, 37, 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.”
Prior to Leavy’s Aug. 30 bomb threat, Boston Children’s Hospital had experienced weeks of targeted harassment, vitriol, and death threats aimed at their Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) program — which focuses on gender-affirming care for trans and gender-nonconforming teens. On Aug. 30, the hospital received a call from an unidentified person who said, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos.” Authorities were called and the hospital was evacuated, but no bomb was found.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the phone number used in the call was registered to Leavy’s name, and cell tower data placed the call near Leavy’s home. After a Sept. 15 search of Leavy’s home, where the phone used to make the call was found and confiscated by police, Leavy admitted she called in the threat and “expressed disapproval of Boston Children’s Hospital on multiple occasions,” but said she had no intention to actually plant a bomb.
Before Leavy’s Sept. 2022 arrest by the FBI, the Boston Children’s bomb threat became a controversial news item with popular conservative and right-wing commentators online, who insinuated that the threat was a hoax created by the mainstream media. These talking points emerged after an article from The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz reported that targeted posts from the Libs of TikTok account on X (formerly Twitter) had caused increased harassment for staff at the Boston Children’s Hospital. Much of the harassment centered around a tweet from Libs of TikTok owner Chaya Raichik, who said that Boston Children’s performed hysterectomies on girls under 18, a claim the hospital denied to the Post. Raichik, Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, and Chris Rufo of the Manhattan Institute posted tweets insinuating the threat was fake, even accusing Lorenzof coordinating it.
Leavy faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to half a million dollars. Her sentencing has been scheduled for March 19, 2024.