Authorities have arrested a man in connection with bomb threats to Jewish community centers nationwide, saying that his efforts were done to harass an ex-girlfriend, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
“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,” Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement. “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.
Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis and will appear in federal court in Missouri on Friday afternoon on a charge of cyberstalking, authorities said. There was no information on an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Thompson made headlines last year when he was fired by the online news publication The Intercept for ethical breeches that included fabricating quotes, according to the Post-Dispatch.
According to a federal complaint, Thompson dated the woman until last summer, when they broke up. The following day, her boss received an email purporting to be from a national news organization saying that she’d been pulled over for drunken driving.
Federal authorities have been investigating as many as 122 bomb threats that were called into almost 100 JCC schools, child care centers and other facilities. The U.S. Department of Justice says Thompson made at least eight of the threats in order to intimidate his ex-girlfriend. They said he sent in harassing faxes and e-mails to her employer, false criminal accusations and threats to the JCC in her name.
The harassment got worse from there, federal officials said. The Anti-Defamation League received an email on Feb. 21 that said she was behind the bomb threats to JCCs and there’d be more the next day. On Feb. 22, it received a phoned-in bomb threat.
He also claimed she was responsible for placing a bomb in a Jewish center in Dallas, and he also emailed a JCC in San Diego saying she wanted to “kill as many Jews asap.”