A former New York reporter was sentenced Wednesday for cyberstalking and making false bomb threats to many Jewish community centers across the country.
Juan Thompson, 32, who now lives in St. Louis, Mo., was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel to 60 months in prison for cyberstalking and making hoax bomb threats as part of his campaign to harass and intimidate with a former girlfriend.
In addition, he was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. Thompson plead guilty to the same charges in June after being arrested in March in St. Louis.
Since 2016, Thompson made at least a dozen Jewish community centers in both his name and his ex-girlfriend’s, including a threat called into the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview on the morning of Feb. 27.
The building was evacuated, but Nassau County police found no explosives in the facilities. A similar call was made to a Jewish community center in Oceanside in January.
“Today, Juan Thompson was held to account and justly punished for his efforts to harass an ex-girlfriend by sending disturbing and dangerous hoax threats to Jewish Community Centers and other organizations across the country in her name,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said. “Thompson’s harassment and threats caused severe distress to both his victim and to Jewish communities around the country. We thank our partners at the FBI for their excellent work on this important case.”
Thompson, a former reporter from The Intercept, was fired from the position in January of 2016 when editors discovered he had been fabricating sources and quotes for stories, including fake email accounts.
Shortly after, Thompson began a months-long campaign in 2016 of harassment targeting his ex-girlfriend ended their relationship, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release. That July, Thompson send an email to the woman’s employer making false allegations about her, claiming she had broken the law.
The email was later traced back to Thompson through his IP address, which had also been linked to his social media accounts.
On Feb. 21, the Anti-Defamation League received an emailed threat to their Manhattan office claiming the ex-girlfriend was “behind the bomb threats against Jews” and that the woman “lives in New York City and is making more bomb threats tomorrow.”
The following day, the organization received a phone call claiming explosive materials were in the midtown office.
Earlier in the month, a Manhattan Jewish community center received an email from an anonymous account stating Thompson had placed two bombs in the office that day.
“He wants to create Jewish Newtown tomorrow,” the email read, referring to the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
A Twitter account used by Thompson was used to accuse his former girlfriend of instigating the bomb threats and claimed the woman was trying to frame Thompson.
On Feb. 24, the Twitter account posted “[She], though I can’t prove it, even sent a bomb threat in my name to a Jewish center, which was odd given her anti-Semitic statements. I got a visit from the FBI, so now I’m battling the racist FBI and this vile, evil, racist white woman.”