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Westfield woman arrested in 'hoax bomb threat' against Boston Children's Hospital

Westfield woman arrested in Boston Children's Hospital threat
Westfield woman arrested in Boston Children's Hospital threat 01:50

BOSTON - An arrest has been made in a "hoax bomb threat" against Boston Children's Hospital. The FBI arrested 37-year-old Catherine Leavy of Westfield Thursday morning. 

Last month, the hospital said staff members have been inundated with threats because of what they call "misinformation" about their treatment of transgender patients.

"On August 30 the hospital received a telephonic bomb threat," said Rachael Rollins, US Attorney for Massachusetts. "The caller said in part, 'there is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos." 

The hospital and the surrounding area were placed under lockdown and federal and local authorities responded. No bombs were found. 

Investigators quickly linked the alleged threat to a T-Mobile phone that was recovered Thursday morning. Leavy is charged with one count of making a false telephonic bomb threat. Rollins said more charges are possible. 

FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta said the hospital has received dozens of harassing phone calls, emails, individual death threats and threats of mass casualty attacks. 

"This behavior is nothing short of reprehensible and let me be clear, it needs to stop now," Bonavolonta said. "The real victims in this case are the hospital's patients. Children with rare diseases, complex conditions and those seeking emergency care who had to divert to other hospitals because of these hoax threats." 

The hospital said an online article falsely claimed that doctors are performing hysterectomies on minors. The age of consent for that gender-affirming procedure is 18.

"We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms, and we reject the false narratives upon which they are based," the hospital said in August. "We are working with law enforcement to protect our clinicians, staff, patients, families, and the broader Boston Children's Hospital community and hold the offenders accountable. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to protect our people."

The charge provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. 

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