BOSTON (AP) — Federal authorities on Thursday arrested a woman accused of calling a false bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital, where doctors and staff were harassed and threatened with violence because of its surgical program for transgender youth.
Catherine Leavy, 37, was arrested at her home in Westfield, Massachusetts, and authorities recovered the phone she allegedly used to call out the bomb threat on August 30, the state told reporters. American attorney from Massachusetts, Racheal Rollins. The threat caused the hospital to be locked down and no explosives were found.
Leavy is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Friday in federal court in Boston, Rollins said. She is charged with one count of making a false bomb threat over the phone. It was not immediately clear Thursday whether she had an attorney to comment on her behalf.
Rollins did not comment directly on the alleged motive in Leavy’s case. But she condemned the barrage of attacks on Boston Children’s Hospital, home to the first transgender pediatric and adolescent health program in the United States.
“This alleged conduct is disturbing to say the least,” Rollins said. “People who work at Children’s Hospital and parents who bring loved ones to Children’s Hospital are under enough stress,” she said.
The hospital became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers last month after finding informative YouTube videos posted by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients. The hospital quickly deleted the videos.
Bridging treatment is under attack in many states, with some calling it a form of child abuse or banning Medicaid coverage. Critics argue that safety must be well established before subjecting young people to potentially irreversible treatments.
But many medical groups support allowing different types of medical treatment for young transgender people, citing evidence it can improve their well-being, though rigorous long-term research on benefits and risks is lacking.
Critics cited the 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 hysterectomies, on minors and young people. children.
The response has been swift and relentless, with a barrage of users demanding the hospital be closed and calling the practices mutilation, barbarism and child abuse, while accusing its doctors of engaging in malpractice or to illegal activities.
The hospital updated language on its websites to emphasize that to qualify for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 years old and meet certain criteria, including undergoing medical and mental health intensives and submit letters of support.
Social media accounts and far-right outlets have also targeted hospitals in Pittsburgh, Phoenix and other major cities for their gender equality care programs.
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