A logo of a nurse holding a baby hangs on a wall outside Boston Children's Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Boston.

A logo of a nurse holding a baby hangs on a wall outside Boston Children’s Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Boston.


A woman faces federal charges after prosecutors say she called in a fake bomb threat against Boston Children’s Hospital, forcing the facility to go into lockdown.

Her threat came amid a campaign to harass the hospital when allegations of child abuse were made against its Gender Multi-Specialty Service (GeMS), a program that provides care for transgender and gender-diverse young people, according to the inquest.

“There’s a bomb on the way to the hospital, better evacuate everybody, you sick people,” the woman said during a call to the hospital on Aug. 30, court documents show.

Catherine Leavy, 37, was charged with a false bomb threat and knowingly providing false information on Oct. 6, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

McClatchy News reached out to Leavy’s attorney for comment on Oct. 7 and was awaiting a response.

GeMS at Boston Children’s Hospital was founded in 2007 and is considered the first program in the US to “emphasis on gender-diverse and transgender youth“, the website of the hospital reports. The program specializes in primary care, therapy, plastic surgery and more.

In August, allegations surfaced online that the hospital and the GeMS program were involved in pedophilia and child mutilation, according to the affidavit.

As a result, the hospital faced a series of nasty calls, emails and violent threats, including one made by Leavy on Aug. 30, the affidavit said.

“We strongly condemn these attacks, and we reject the false narrative on which they are based,” the hospital told The Washington Post in August. “We are working with law enforcement to protect our clinicians, staff, patients, families and the greater Boston Children’s community and to bring offenders to justice.”

According to the release, an explosives squad arrived at the hospital after Leavy’s call, and the facility and the surrounding area were locked down as the squad searched for explosives.

When no explosives were found, investigators began searching for the caller who made the threats, prosecutors said.

Detailed call records eventually led investigators to Leavy, who was interviewed by FBI agents on Sept. 15, the affidavit said.

At first, Leavy denied making a bomb threat against the hospital, but began repeatedly expressing disagreement with the facility, the affidavit said.

“When the agents further questioned her based on those beliefs,” Leavy told them she made the threat, but she said she didn’t take it seriously, according to the affidavit.

Leavy faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted of making a false bomb threat, the release said. She faces a potential sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted of misrepresentation.

She is due to appear in court at a later date, the report said.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the Southeast and Northeast while based in New York. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. She has previously written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and others.