Catherine Leavy was arrested in connection with a fake bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital in August 2022, authorities say. The suspect faces federal charges, the FBI, the Massachusetts attorney and the Boston Police Department announced during a news conference on Sept. 15. Leavy, 37, is from Westfield, Massachusetts, officials said.
Massachusetts attorney Rachael Rollins said the threat had been relayed by telephone to the hospital’s switchboard. The caller told the operator who answered the call, according to Rollins: “There’s a bomb on its way to the hospital. You’d better evacuate everyone. You sick.” Rollins said there was an “immediate response” from authorities No explosives were found after the Boston Police Department bombing responded, Rollins said.
Rollins said investigators obtained arrest warrants and followed the call to a T-Mobile phone owned by the suspect. The FBI said she was arrested “without incident” at her home in Westfield. During the press conference, authorities mistakenly identified her as Kathleen Leavy, and some reporters referred to her as Kathleen Levy, but court documents show her name is spelled Catherine Leavy. Westfield is located in western Massachusetts, near Springfield, in Hampden County, about 100 miles west of Boston.
Rollins said Leavy was once accused of making a false telephone bomb threat. Leavy, who could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, appeared in court before a magistrate on Sept. 15 and is being held in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for 12 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, Rollins said.
Rollins called the threat “troubling to say the least,” adding, “Bomb hoaxes are causing fear, panic and a diversion of resources that have a real impact on our communities.” Rollins said she could not comment further on the motive.
It was not immediately clear whether Leavy has hired a lawyer to comment on her behalf. Heavy will update this report as more information about Leavy is confirmed.
Here’s what you need to know about Catherine Leavy and the Boston Children’s Hospital bomb threat:
According to the affidavit filed in support of the charges leading to Leavy’s arrest, the FBI had the phone number used to make the bomb threat. T-Mobile told investigators the phone belonged to Leavy, according to the affidavit. The company also provided call records confirming the phone called Boston Children’s Hospital at the time of the threat, the FBI said in the affidavit.
FBI agents went to Leavy’s home in Westfield on Sept. 15 and interviewed her, according to the affidavit. “Leavy initially denied knowing the location of her cell phone and on Aug. 30, 2022, denied the threat to BCH,” the FBI wrote in the affidavit. “Agents continued to interview Leavy and played an audio recording of the August 30, 2022 phone call to BCH. Officers also told Leavy that phone records showed her phone was used to make the threat.
The FBI added: “During the interview, Leavy expressed his disapproval of BCH several times. When officers questioned her further based on those beliefs, Leavy admitted that she called BCH on August 30, 2022 and made the threat. Leavy stated that she had no plan or intent to actually bomb BHC.” Leavy’s phone was seized from her bedroom, the FBI said.
According to a press release, “Law enforcement officers obtained subscriber and call details and location information for the phone number that brought in the bomb threat. The records obtained showed that the phone number was in Leavy’s name and that at the time the bomb threat was raised, it was pinging a cell tower near Leavy’s home.
Boston Police Department said no explosives were found after the Aug. 30 bomb threat at the Children’s Hospital. Streets around the hospital were closed for about two hours, the department said in a statement. The threat came in around 8 p.m., police said. The hospital received the threat and contacted police, officials said. The Boston Police Department’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service was on the scene, officials said in a statement. The hospital received an unspecified threat on Sept. 9 that led to increased patrols in the area, WCVB said.
Federal Elections Commission data shows that since 2016, Catherine M. Leavy of Westfield has made dozens of campaign contributions to former President Trump, the Republican Party, and MAGA PACs. year old Levi.
The most recent campaign contribution was $150 to Trump on August 12, 2020. Leavy also contributed to WinRed, the Trump Make America Great Again Commmittee, and the Republican National Committee. The 237 contributions run into the thousands, the data shows.
In October 2020, Leavy shared a MassLive article on Twitter about Democrats trying to flip a Republican Senate seat in Massachusetts, replying, “He’s a pos that he blows cocaine and steals money, you guys have no idea.” She also responded to an October 2020 tweet about the Biden-Harris campaign, writing, “You want people to seriously wow at age 14.”
Leavy also tweeted to someone who posted about getting a flu vaccine: “Did you look at the ingredients in that flu shot.” On Oct. 4, 2020, members of the LGTBQ community attempted to take over #ProudBoys on Twitter after Trump refused to denounce the group during a debate against Biden, PinkNews reported. Leavy responded to that move by: tweet“Ok as it goes for EVERYONE DO YOUR THING JUST DON’T BE THANK YOU EVERYONE GOING FOR EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING PDA IS NOT COOL HONEST REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU ARE FOR MY OPINION THANK YOU #ProudBoys”
Leavy posted a message about family members on Twitter, and Heavy used that information to confirm it belongs to the 37-year-old who is being charged in connection with the threat. Levy wrote in her Twitter bio, “I’m from Westfield, Massachusetts. I’m 35 and I love flowers and music. My grandfather Edward Culity Leavy founded Jen Coat Inc. here in Westfield, Massachusetts.”
Public records show that Leavy lives with her parents and sister in Westfield. She tweeted in October 2020 in response to a tweet about how the pandemic has been hard on people with mental illness: “Parents tried to lock me up three times. I’m a madhouse because the earth feels like it’s from the ashes.”
Leavy’s Facebook page shows that she attended Westfield High School. She wrote in her Facebook bio, “chill down to earth, just a little scoop of energy, live music, flower gardens, crafts, chilling out.” Leavy appears to have no criminal record in Massachusetts.
FBI Boston Special-Agent-in-Charge Joseph Bonavolonta said at the press conference, “Today’s arrest should serve as a strong warning to others that making threats to others is no joke. It’s a federal crime. … Law enforcement officers should make all threats of violence a top priority because we never know if those behind them will follow through with their actions. These threats endanger innocent people, prevent law enforcement officers from responding to actual emergencies, are costly to taxpayers and cause unnecessary stress to victims and the community.”
Bonavolonta added: “In recent months, Boston Children’s Hospital has been the subject of continued harassment for raising grievances regarding services they provide to gender-diverse and transgender individuals and their families. This has led to an enormous amount of fear, alarm and unnecessary spending of limited resources on law enforcement. Notably, the hospital has received dozens of hoax threats, including harassing phone calls and emails, individual death threats, and threats of mass attack. This behavior is downright reprehensible and it must stop now. The real victims in this case are the hospital patients. Children with rare diseases, complex conditions and people in need of emergency care who had to move to other hospitals because of these hoax threats. Threatening the life of anyone seeking any kind of health care is a heinous act and will not be tolerated.”
The hospital faced threats on social media after misinformation about anti-LGBTQ was spread by right-wing influencers, including “LibsofTikTok,” about caring for transgender children and teens, The Washington Post reported. Chaya Raichik, who owns the LibsoftTikTok, denied any responsibility for the threats, telling The Washington Post, “We condemn 100% all acts/threats of violence.”
Prior to the bomb threat, Massachusetts attorney Rachael Rollins released a statement saying, “Today’s news of the alleged threats against the Boston Children’s Hospital transgender health program is disturbing to say the least. Children deserve a chance to to thrive and grow as their own authentic selves. Parents/guardians and caregivers who support them in that journey must be able to do so without threat and intimidation. I want to make it clear that the Department of Justice will ensure equal protection for transgender people under the law.”