A Texas man has been federally charged after allegedly harassing and making death threats against a Boston doctor who treats members of the transgender community, including trans youth.
Matthew Jordan Lindner, 38, of Comfort, Texas, was arrested Friday and charged with one count of transmitting interstate threats, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. Lindner appeared in the Western District of Texas Friday afternoon and will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
Prosecutors say that in August, inaccurate information about procedures at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) for the transgender community was spreading online. According to the charging documents, on Aug. 31, Lindner called the Boston-based National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center and left a threatening voicemail targeting one of the center’s affiliated doctors.
According to its website, the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center provides “educational programs, resources and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and all sexual and gender minority (LGBTQIA+) people.” The education center is part of Fenway Health and the Fenway Institute, which are among the world’s largest health centers focused on LGBTQIA+ communities.
Investigators say the targeted doctor cares for gender-nonconforming children and transgender patients.
In Linder’s expletive-packed voicemail, officials say he allegedly threatened, “You’re all gonna burn. There’s a group of people on their way to handle [the doctor]. You signed your own warrant, [doctor].”
Prosecutors also say Linder accused the doctor of “castrating our children” and said, “You’ve woken up enough people. And upset enough of us. And you signed your own ticket.”
If convicted, Lindner faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
“Death threats instill fear and terror in their targeted audiences,” U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said in a news release. “The conduct alleged here is not protected free speech. The words used here do not amount to someone simply expressing their discontent or engaging in a heated debate. Mr. Lindner’s alleged conduct — a death threat — is based on falsehoods and amounts to an act of workplace violence. The victim, a doctor caring for gender nonconforming and transgendered patients, should be able to engage in this meaningful and necessary work without fear of physical harm or death.”
In August, Rollins announced the creation of the “End Hate Now” hotline (1-83-END-H8-NOW or 1-833-634-8669) for reporting hate-based incidents or potential criminal activity. Callers can report incidents of hate, hate crimes, or individuals believed to be supporting acts of hate-based violent extremism. Callers can remain anonymous.