The FBI arrested a 31-year-old Missouri man Friday and charged him in connection with a wave of threats against Jewish Community Centers as part of a bizarre cyberstalking scheme to retaliate against a former girlfriend, federal prosecutors allege.
Juan Thompson, who was picked up in St. Louis, is accused of making bomb threats against Jewish institutions in New York, including the offices of the Anti-Defamation League, and across the country, in the name of a woman described in court documents as a "former romantic interest.''
"Thompson's alleged pattern of harassment not only involved the defamation of his female victim, but his threats intimidated an entire community,'' FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr., said Friday.
The cyberstalking charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Some 100 incidents of bomb threats have been reported at 81 Jewish Community Centers in 33 states already this year, according to the Jewish Community Center Association.
According to the criminal complaint, Thompson allegedly made at least eight of the threats to the JCC in a "sustained campaign to harass and intimidate."
The complaint said the alleged harassment "appears to have begun shortly after their romantic relationship ended" and to have included, among other things, defamatory emails and faxes to the victim's employer, false reports of criminal activity by the victim and JCC Threats in the victim's name.
The court document alleged that Thompson made at least eight JCC threats as part of his "campaign of harassment" against the former girlfriend. In one, emailed to the ADL's Manhattan office, saying that she "is behind the bomb threats agaisnt jews (sic.). She lives in nyhc and is making more bomb threats tomorrow."
In another case, the documents alleged, Thompson sent an anonymous email accusing himself of planting bombs in an apparent ploy to make it appear that his former girlfriend was trying to frame him for a crime. The email said that he was trying to "create Jewish newtown tomorrow," an apparent reference to the shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 in which 26 people, including victims, were killed.
The earliest incident mentioned in the criminal complaint was dated July 2016 when Thompson allegedly emailed the former girlfriend's employer to accuse her of violating the law. In October, he allegedly accused her falsely of possessing children pornography.
In addition to a spate of bomb threats, three Jewish cem