The Boston Children’s Hospital has become the target of what it called a ‘misinformation’ campaign. (Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A woman has been charged with making a false bomb threat which resulted in a children’s hospital being forced into lockdown.
Catherine Leavy, 37, was arrested at her home in Westfield, Massachusetts, in relation to the bomb threat which targeted Boston Children’s Hospital on 30 August.
The threat came as the hospital received a barrage of harassment over misinformation regarding its gender-affirming care for trans youths.
Massachusetts US attorney Rachael Rollins told reporters authorities recovered the phone they believe Leavy used to make the threat.
Rollins confirmed Leavy has been charged with one count of making a false telephonic bomb threat.
According to court documents, the hospital received a phone call saying: ”There is a bomb on the way to the hospital, you better evacuate everybody you sickos.”
The threat resulted in the hospital being forced into lockdown and a bomb squad being sent in to sweep the building.
It came shortly after right-wing social media account Libs of TikTok sharing a post falsely claiming that the hospital was offering “gender-affirming hysterectomies for young girls”. The hospital confirmed gender-affirming surgeries are not offered to under-18s.
During an interview with FBI agents, court documents state, Leavy initially denied making the threat.
But after agents informed her that phone records indicate her number made the threat, she admitted making the call.
The agent wrote in court papers that Leavy “expressed disapproval” of the hospital “on multiple occasions” during the interview.
Leavy’s detention hearing is scheduled for Friday (16 September) in Massachusetts federal court.
US attorney Rollins has condemned the barrage of attacks against Boston Children’s Hospital, and said: “This alleged conduct is disturbing to stay the least.”
“The people that work at [the hospital] and the parents that bring their loved ones [there] are under enough stress.”
A Boston Children’s Hospital spokesperson told PinkNews: “We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to law enforcement for their vigorous and effective efforts in bringing to justice those allegedly responsible for the threats against our hospital and staff.”
The spokesperson said the hospital will continue to work on providing high quality care, while working with relevant agencies and teams to ensure safety across its site.
“We stand firmly by our commitment to support transgender patients, their families and the LGBTQ+ community,” the added.
In a previous statement Boston’s Children’s Hospital said it condemned the attacks in the “strongest possible terms”.
According to its homepage, the hospital houses the Gender Multispecialty Service, the nation’s “first pediatric and adolescent transgender health programme” that has treated more than 1,000 families.
The separate Center for Gender Surgery strictly provides treatments to “eligible adolescents and young adults“. The age of consent for gender-affirming procedures is 18.