Prosecutors in New York charged a 31-year-old Missouri man on Friday with making at least eight bomb threats against Jewish centers, officials said.
Juan Thompson was arrested on Friday morning in St. Louis and is due to appear there in court later in the day, prosecutors said in a statement. He was charged with cyberstalking an ex-girlfriend, whose name he is accused of using to make the threats, the statement said.
Thompson is accused of carrying out "at least eight of the JCC threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate" in an apparent attempt at revenge following the end of a romantic relationship.
According to Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of the Intercept, Thompson was fired last year for fabricating stories and sources while working at the news outlet as a reporter.
Reed released a statement following Thompson's arrest saying the news outlet was"horrified" to learn of the "heinous" accusations made against him and that they "should be fully investigated and prosecuted."
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) March 3, 2017
Thompson's arrest follows nearly 100 threats aimed at Jewish Community Centers and schools have been reported nationwide. On Feb. 27, 21 bomb threats were reported at 13 JCCs and eight Jewish schools in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia, according to the JCC Association of North America.
Officials do not believe Thompson is responsible for the entire wave of bomb threats made against JCCs in the U.S. and Canada.
Threats against the Jewish community have become so widespread that President Donald Trump weighed in on the incidents during his first address on Capitol Hill. "Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," Trump said.
Trump initially sparked controversy for reportedly saying, "sometimes it's the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad," when asked about anti-Semitic incidents.
Additional reporting by Reuters.