Authorities say man threatened Jewish centers to frame his ex
A former journalist fired for fabricating details in stories made at least eight of the scores of threats against Jewish institutions nationwide, including a bomb threat to New York’s Anti-Defamation League, as part of a campaign to harass and frame his ex-girlfriend, federal officials said Friday.
Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis and appeared there in federal court Friday on a cyberstalking charge.
Supporters who attended would say only that Thompson had no criminal record. His lawyer didn’t comment.
Federal officials have been investigating 122 bomb threats called in to Jewish organizations in three dozen states since Jan. 9 as well as a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries.
Thompson started making his threats Jan. 28, a criminal complaint said, with an email to the Jewish History Museum in New York City written from an account that made it appear as if it was being sent by an ex-girlfriend.
“Juan Thompson put 2 bombs in the History Museum set to go off Sunday,” it said.
He followed that up with similar messages to a Jewish school in Farmington Hills, Mich., and to a school and community center in Manhattan, authorities said.
In another round of emails and phone calls, he gave the woman’s name, rather than his own, the court complaint said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations received an anonymous email saying the woman had put a bomb in a Dallas Jewish center.
He also made threats in which he identified the woman as the culprit, authorities said. It’s not clear why Jewish organizations were targeted.