A Texas man who authorities say threatened a Boston doctor who provided care to transgender people was arrested Friday on federal charges.
The suspect, identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as 38-year-old Matthew Jordan Lindner of Humble, Texas, was charged with one count of interstate transmission of threats. He made his first appearance in a Texas courtroom Friday afternoon and is expected to appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
Lindner allegedly harassed and threatened to kill a female doctor at the Boston-based National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center, targeting her specifically regarding her work caring for gender nonconforming children, according to a statement from Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division.
Charging documents allege that on Aug. 31, Lindner called the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center afterat Boston Children’s Hospital. Lindner left an abusive message directed at one of the center’s affiliated doctors, the Justice Department said.
Lindner allegedly said that “a group of people” were “on their way to handle” the unidentified victim, said the victim was going to “burn,” and said the victim and others in their field had “run enough of us” and ” signed (their) own ticket,” federal prosecutors said. The message also contained a gender-based slur and accused the victim of “castrating” children.
The charge against Linder carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.
“While everyone has the right to express their opinion, they do not have the right to use or threaten violence against individuals who do not share their beliefs,” Bonavolonta said. “No one should have to live in fear of violence because of who they are, what kind of work they do, where they come from, or what they believe. This case is unfortunately one of many that illustrates the commitment of the FBI Boston in thwarting the potential. violent incidents motivated by hatred and bias and holding those behind them accountable.”
It is not the first time that misinformation concernshas resulted in threats. In September, Catherine Leavy, of Westfield, Massachusetts, on allegations that she called in a fake bomb threat against the hospital on Aug. 30, just one day before Lindner allegedly made her phone call.
At the time, Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins said Boston Children’s Hospital had been the subject of about a dozen similar threats. In October, three major medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association,to investigate and prosecute similar threats.
Several dozen House Democrats signed a letter sent to Garland on Nov. 18 requesting that the DOJ outline the steps it is taking to address anti-transgender threats against health care providers.
In the news release announcing Linder’s arrest, Rollins said Friday that the Justice Department “has pledged to protect the rights of the gender nonconforming and transgender community, which includes health care providers who provide care and support.”