A St. Louis man was arrested for cyberstalking after making terrorist threats against several New York-area Jewish community centers.
Juan Thompson, 31, is accused of making the threats in the name of an ex-girlfriend in order to frame her. He also allegedly made bomb threats in his own name in an effort to make it appear that his ex-girlfriend was trying to frame him.
Authorities alleged Thompson made at least eight threats to Jewish community centers. He was arrested for cyberstalking, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
"Everyone deserves to be free from fear and discrimination based on religion, race, or ethnicity; that is fundamental to who we are as a nation," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "Together with the FBI and the NYPD, we have been investigating the recent threats made on Jewish Community Centers in New York and around the country. Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League."
Bharara added: "Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race -- whatever the motivation -- are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal. We are committed to pursuing and prosecuting those who foment fear and hate through such criminal threats."
"Thompson's alleged pattern of harassment not only involved the defamation of his female victim, but his threats intimidated an entire community," said William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "The FBI and our partners take these crimes seriously. I would also like to thank the NYPD and the New York State Police, who continue to work shoulder to shoulder with us as we investigate and track down every single threat and work together to achieve justice for our communities that have been victimized by these threats."
"We will continue to pursue those who peddle fear, making false claims about serious crimes," said New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said.
Thompson is a former journalist for The Intercept, but was fired from the news site in January 2016 for writing stories with made-up sources and falsified quotes.
"We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking," The Intercept said in a statement. "Thompson worked for The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired after we discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.