Man charged with threatening Jewish centers to frame his ex - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man charged with threatening Jewish centers to frame his ex

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LA JOLLA (CNS/AP) - A 31-year-old man was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, Friday in connection with at least eight bogus bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers across the country, including one in La Jolla, as part of a campaign to harass a former girlfriend.
   
Juan Thompson allegedly targeted the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center on Feb. 20, according to a criminal complaint. The center on Executive Drive received an email at 10:38 p.m. that day that said the ex-girlfriend, whose name was not made public, "put a bomb in the center'' and intended to "kill as many Jews asap,'' among other things, according to the charging document.
   
Thompson is also suspected of making similar threats against other Jewish Community Centers, schools, other organizations that serve the Jewish community and the Anti-Defamation League in the victim's name, and in his own name to purport he was being framed. On or around Feb. 1, a Jewish school in Michigan received a bomb threat that claimed Thompson was "eager for a Jewish newtown,'' a reference to Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children were killed in a school shooting in 2012.
   
Thompson's harassment of the victim allegedly began after the two split up in July 2016. In addition to the bogus bomb threats, Thompson also threatened to make public nude photos of the victim, and alleged she was being sued for spreading a sexually transmitted disease and had possessed child pornography, according to the complaint.
   
Thompson faces a cyberstalking charge, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
   
"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,'' said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney fpr the Southern District of New York. "Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race -- whatever the motivation -- are unacceptable, un-American and criminal.''
   
Five waves of bogus threats have made against Jewish community centers and day schools in January and February. According to the JCC Association of North America, 100 incidents occurred at 81 locations in 33 states and 2 Canadian provinces.

Authorities said that Thompson, a jilted ex-boyfriend, is behind at least eight of the scores of threats made against Jewish Community Centers nationwide, plus a bomb threat to New York's Anti-Defamation League, in an effort to harass and vilify his former girlfriend, federal officials said Friday.

Thompson 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.

Federal officials have been investigating 122 bomb threats called in to nearly 100 Jewish Community College schools, child care and other similar facilities in three dozen states. The first wave of calls started Jan. 9. Thompson made threats in his name and in the woman's name, and his first one was Jan. 28 to the Jewish History Museum in Manhattan, authorities said. Federal authorities say Thompson made up an email address to make it seem like the woman was sending threats in his name. He made threats this way to Jewish schools in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and Manhattan and to a JCC in Manhattan, authorities said.

He also made threats in the woman's name, authorities said. An email sent Feb. 21 to the Anti-Defamation League said the woman was behind threats made against "jews," authorities said.

"She lives in nyc and is making more bomb threats tomorrow," the email said, according to federal authorities.

The ADL received a phoned-in threat of a bomb that would detonate the next day. The threat was a hoax.

According to a federal complaint, the pair broke up last summer. 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.

Thompson is also a former journalist who was fired from the Intercept last year after he was accused of fabricating several quotes and creating fake email accounts to impersonate people, one of whom was the Intercept's editor-in-chief, Betsy Reed. One of the stories involved Dylann Roof, the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooter.

The ADL said Friday that Thompson had been on its radar ever since he fabricated the story about Roof.

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Associated Press writer Jim Salter in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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