Federal judge sentences Rossmoor resident for threats to entities

Federal Bureau of Investigsation

A federal court has sentenced a 35-year-old Rossmoor man to a year in prison this week after a long ordeal that began years ago as federal agents eventually arrested Jeremy Hanson in Rossmoor for making threats to the publisher of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, among others.

According to court documents released by a U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston on Thursday, a federal judge has this week sentenced Hanson.

“A [Rossmoor] California man was sentenced April 13 in federal court in Springfield, Mass. for making threats to commit anti-LGBTQ violence against Springfield-based dictionary company Merriam-Webster, Inc. and others,” claims a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts.

As previously reported in the ENE, Hanson and his mother were first interviewed back in 2015 over threatening messages. The FBI said in the complaint it was then that their investigators initially interviewed Hanson in the presence of his mother and a medical psychiatric expert at UC Irvine Medical Center. The expert determined Hanson was fit to be interviewed. Further, the complaint revealed that in those interviews, Hanson expressed “remorse.”

According to the complaint, Hanson’s mother told investigators in 2021 that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and has the maturity of a 16-year-old. She suggested her son never intended to carry out any of the threats.

Nevertheless, the local man was convicted this week by a federal judge in Massachusetts. “Jeremy David Hanson, 35, of Rossmoor, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release,” the court said in a press release.

In September 2022, Hanson had pleaded guilty to one count of interstate communication of threatening communications to commit violence against the employees of Merriam-Webster, and to another count charging the same offense, that was initially filed in the Eastern District of Texas, targeting the President of the University of North Texas.

“As part of his plea agreement, Hanson also admitted to sending threatening communications to various corporations, politicians, and others, including the Walt Disney Co., the Governor of California, the Mayor of New York City, a New York rabbi and professors at Loyola Marymount University. Many of the threatening communications specified the race, gender, gender identity and/or sexual orientation of various persons, authorities said. Hanson persisted in his communications in spite of repeated interactions with law enforcement officers,” the court document said.

“Hate has no place in Massachusetts. Every person has a right to live their life authentically and without fear. I hope today’s sentence will demonstrate to members of the LGBTQ+ community that this office will hold those who engage in threatening, hateful acts accountable,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins in the public news releasse.
“Mr. Hanson made numerous, anonymous hate-fueled threats of violence to intimidate and instill fear. Hateful and bigoted acts, even if only spoken like those committed by Mr. Hanson, terrorize communities and are destructive to our society,” she said.

“Hate-motivated acts of any kind will never be tolerated in our Commonwealth and perpetrators – including those who think they can hide behind a keyboard need to know we will find you and prosecute you. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to call the 1-83-END-H8-NOW (1-833-634-8669) line if they have information about concerning or troubling incidents of hate, potential hate crimes or threats,” the press release said.

“Despite repeated interactions with law enforcement directing Jeremy Hanson to stop his hateful tirades threatening violence, he continued to make them. In doing so, his bias against the LGBTQ+ community instilled real fear and safety concerns, causing Merriam-Webster to close its offices in Springfield and New York City for almost five days,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division.

“Today’s sentence cannot undo the damage Hanson did, but it can provide some comfort in knowing that threats to life are not protected free speech but criminal acts, and the FBI and our partners will vigorously pursue those who commit them. If you are a victim or witness to similar conduct, we’d ask you to report it to us by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.,” he said.

Between Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, 2021, Springfield-based Merriam-Webster, Inc. received various threatening messages and comments demonstrating bias against specific gender identities submitted through its website’s “Contact Us” page and in the comments section on its webpages that corresponded to the word entries for “Girl” and “Woman.” Authorities later identified the user as Hanson.

Specifically, on Oct. 2, 2021, Hanson used the handle “@anonYmous” to post the following comment on the dictionary’s website definition of “female.” “It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.” That same day, Hanson also sent threatening messages via the website’s “Contact Us” page.

On Oct. 8, 2021, Hanson posted another threatening comment on the dictionary’s website and a threatening message via the “Contact Us” page that read: “I am going to shoot up and bomb your offices for lying and creating fake definitions in order to pander to the tranny mafia. Boys aren’t girls, and girls aren’t boys. The only good Marxist is a dead Marxist. I will assassinate your top editor. You sickening, vile tranny freaks.” As a result of the threats, Merriam-Webster temporarily closed its offices in Springfield, Mass. and New York City, the ENE previously reported.