Iowa Man Arrested for Making Threats Targeting Boston-Based Islamic Cultural Center
BOSTON—An Iowa man was arrested today on charges of threatening to shoot and kill Muslims by posting threats on the Facebook page of an Islamic organization in Boston.
Gerald Wayne Ledford, 57, of Clinton, Iowa, was charged in a criminal complaint with transmitting in interstate or foreign commerce a communication containing a threat to injure the person of another. The complaint was filed on June 1, and was unsealed today following Ledford’s arrest in Clinton, Iowa. He is expected to have his initial appearance today in Iowa, and to appear again in Boston on June 24, 2015 at 2:15 p.m.
The complaint alleges that on Oct.19, 2014, Ledford threatened the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), a cultural center that offers a mosque and a variety of educational, spiritual, and social services to Muslims in New England. The complaint alleges that Ledford posted two threats on the ISBCC’s Facebook page. One post threatened, “Mohamed was a child rapist .a murderer and molester.you all will go to hell with you’re father satan..we will destroy you here and in your’re s**t hole countrys.” The second post consisted of a photograph of a man bearing a long gun with the caption, “This is for you.followers of the piece of s**t Mohamed …” The complaint further alleges that Ledford intended these posts to threaten the ISBCC and its members and that they were actually interpreted that way.
Although the complaint alleges that the charged threats were posted on the Facebook page of the ISBCC as the intended target, the complaint also alleges that Ledford’s own Facebook page contains additional relevant posts. For example, on or about Oct. 22, 2014, apparently reacting to news reports of shootings by a recent convert to Islam in Canada, Ledford allegedly posted, “Why can’t the American and Canadian gov’s just admit that a person with Islamic tendencies be called a Islamic terrorist!!” In another example, on Feb. 13, 2015, apparently reacting to news reports about the murder of three Muslim students of the University of North Carolina, Ledford allegedly posted, “Wow a white man kills three islamists and it’s a hate crime?Good job brother! [aggressive emoticon] Now we only have to take 999999 more of there innocent people!!! An eye for a eye,!!!”
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Theodore Merritt and Scott L. Garland of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team.
The details contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.