Religious Schools Again Target of Bomb Threats; FBI Suspects Cases Linked

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), January 9, 2009 | Go to article overview

Religious Schools Again Target of Bomb Threats; FBI Suspects Cases Linked


Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

FBI officials say a series of bomb threats this week that forced classes to be canceled at two Catholic schools and a Lutheran elementary school in Eugene appear to be linked.

At least two of the seven threats issued Tuesday and Thursday to the schools contained anti-religious messages, according to school officials.

FBI investigators are working with Eugene police detectives to track down the source of the threats. Investigators said they are pursuing active leads in the case.

"If somebody is targeting schools because of religion, that is a federal civil rights violation," FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said.

On Tuesday, bomb threats prompted daylong cancellations at both Marist High School, at 1900 Kingsley Road, and O'Hara Catholic School, at 715 W. 18th Ave.

Those two Catholic schools were targeted again Thursday.

Officials at both campuses arrived to work to find threatening voice messages left on school phones, police said.

Bomb squads promptly searched the campuses and deemed them safe.

Marist and O'Hara officials initially asked students to arrive at 10 a.m., but canceled classes for the day after both schools received a second round of threatening phone calls later in the morning.

Marist Principal Jay Conroy said neither threat Thursday at the high school referenced religion.

But Tuesday's threat - a written message - was anti-Catholic, he said.

"These definitely are not your typical, trying-to-duck-a-test student types of threats," Conroy said. "It's irritating, but it's more than that. It weighs on me because we're very concerned about the kids."

Life! Lutheran School Principal Chris Curry said a threatening note was discovered taped to a door at his school about 8 a.

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