A Massachusetts woman was arrested on Thursday and charged with carrying out a bomb hoax against Boston Children’s Hospital following a campaign by the right-wing Libs of TikTok account against medical workers who dispense drugs. caring for transgender children.
Authorities said Catherine Leavy was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday morning at her home in Westfield. She appeared before a judge on Thursday afternoon to face one count of making a false bomb threat by telephone.
“The alleged conduct is disturbing to say the least,” Rachael Rollins, the U.S. attorney from Massachusetts, told reporters at a news conference to announce the arrest and charges. “Healthcare providers who support and provide care for gender and transgender people and their families deserve to do so without fear.”
Police were first called to the Boston Children’s on August 30 following bomb threats made over the phone. A similar threat was made again on September 9. No explosive device was found after either call.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta said there were more than a dozen threats against the hospital.
In an August 30 threat, a caller said, “There is a bomb on the way to the hospital. You better evacuate everyone, you sick people.”
Investigators said they quickly linked a threat to a T-Mobile account belonging to Leavy.
Leavy will be held in jail overnight pending a bail hearing on Friday. It was not immediately clear if she had a defense attorney.
The arrest comes following a week-long coordinated online anti-LGBTQ campaign led primarily by Libs of TikTok.
The Twitter account managed by former Brooklyn realtor Chaya Raichik fueled a wave of far-right conspiracies against LGBTQ teachers and librarians in recent months, whom she called “groomers.” The account also recently began naming its 1.3 million followers several children’s hospitals that provide gender-affirming care to trans children. Among them was the Boston facility, which she falsely claimed performed hysterectomies on children.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that providing gender-affirming care to gender-diverse children – including allowing to social transition as good as access puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones — improves their mental health and reduces the risk of suicide. In the United States, medical guidelines also state that genital surgeries are only performed on patients over the age of 18; it is the practice to boston for kids.
Libs of TikTok tweets about hospitals have caused internal concern among Twitter employees, according to the Washington Postfearing that they would trigger violence.
Reacting to Thursday’s accusations against Leavy, Raichik tweeted from his Libs of TikTok account, “This is great news. Threats of violence should always be taken seriously.
In May, FBI agents arrested a California man who had threatened to kill a staff member from a school district in Wisconsin that was shamed by TikTok’s Libs. District officials had opened a Title IX Investigation into three eighth graders who bullied a transgender student into refusing to use their pronouns.
The investigation was later closed by school board after officials said they had “issued clear guidelines and expectations to all students involved in this matter with the goal of preventing bullying and harassment and ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment for all of our students.