BOSTON (AP) – Federal officials on Thursday arrested a woman at Boston Children’s Hospital for making fake bomb threats amid threats of harassment and violence over its surgical program for transgender youth.
Massachusetts US Attorney Rachel Rollins told reporters that 37-year-old Katherine Levy was arrested from her home in Westfield, Massachusetts, and officers recovered the phone they believe was used to make bombs on August 30. had threatened.
The caller said: “There’s a bomb on the way to the hospital, according to court documents, you’d better get all the sick people out.” The hospital was closed as a result of the threat, and no explosives were found.
According to court documents, Levy initially denied making threats during an interview Thursday with FBI agents. After agents told her that phone records indicate her number made threats, she admitted to doing so, one agent wrote in court papers. The agent said he expressed “disapproval” of the hospital “on several occasions” during the interview.
Rollins said Levy is being held in Boston federal court pending a detention hearing on Friday. He has been charged with making a false telephonic bomb threat. It was not immediately clear Thursday whether he had a lawyer to comment on his behalf.
Rollins did not comment directly on the alleged motive in Levy’s case. But he condemned the attacks against Boston Children’s Hospital, which is home to the first pediatric and adolescent transgender health program in the United States.
“This alleged conduct is troubling to stay in the least,” Rollins said. “People who work in the children’s hospital and the parents who bring their loved ones to the children’s hospital are under tremendous stress,” she said.
Boston Children’s Hospital thanked law enforcement for their work on the case.
“We continue to focus on providing the highest quality care and work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – and our safety and emergency response teams – to ensure the safety of everyone in our hospital,” the hospital said in an emailed statement. Will keep.” , “We stand strong in our commitment to supporting transgender patients, their families, and the LGBTQ+ community.”
The hospital became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers last month after it received informative YouTube videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients. The hospital immediately removed the videos.
Infection treatment is under attack in many states, some calling it a form of child abuse or blocking Medicaid coverage. Critics argue that safety must be well established before youth can be subjected to potentially irreversible treatments.
But many medical groups support allowing different types of medical treatment for transgender youth, citing evidence that it can improve their well-being, although rigorous long-term research on the benefits and risks is lacking.
Critics cited videos and snippets of previous language on the hospital’s website to claim that Boston Children’s Hospital was improperly performing gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomy, on minors and young children.
The response was swift and sustained, with a multitude of users calling for the hospital to be closed and accusing its doctors of malpractice or engaging in illegal activity, calling the surgery mutilated, vandalism and child abuse.
Hospitals have updated the language on their websites to emphasize that to qualify for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 and meet certain criteria. , which includes intensive medical and mental health assessment and submission of letters of support.
Far-right social media accounts and news outlets have also targeted hospitals in Pittsburgh, Phoenix and other major cities for their gender care programs.