A Missouri man was arrested Friday morning in connection with at least eight threats against Manhattan Jewish organizations, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office announced.
Juan Thompson, 31, of St. Louis was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in a complaint with cyberstalking an unnamed victim who he allegedly tried to blame for threats made against numerous Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League. The victim was a former romantic interest of Thompson’s, according to Bharara.
“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,” Bharara said in a statement. “Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race — whatever the motivation — are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal.”
Thompson’s arrest comes as FBI and federal prosecutors have begun investigating and responding to a wave of threats against Jewish service providing organizations in New York and across the country, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Thompson is alleged to have sought to harass the unnamed victim after their romantic relationship ended, with not only bomb threats, but also emails and faxes to the victim’s employer and additional false reports of criminal activity.
According to prosecutors, Thompson emailed the Manhattan office of the Anti-Defamation League on Feb. 21 to warn that the target of his alleged harassment would be making bomb threats the next day. A bomb threat that explosive material had been placed in ADL’s Midtown office was subsequently called in.
Thompson also allegedly made threats in his own name, in what prosecutors say was an attempt to claim the target of harassment was trying to frame him. On Feb. 7, a Manhattan Jewish community center received an anonymous email claiming Thompson placed two bombs in the center’s office. The email claimed the goal was “to create Jewish newtown tomorrow,” in apparent reference to the December 2012 killing of 26 victims, including 20 school children, in Newtown, Conn.
Thompson allegedly used social media in an attempt to further his scheme, accusing the victim on Twitter of responsibility in the Jewish community center threats and claiming she was seeking to frame him. As recently as Feb. 26, Thompson allegedly posted a message accusing his victim of being a “filthy anti-Semite.”
Thompson is expected to be presented in Missouri federal court on Friday.