Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
The Fairfield Police Department arrested a 15-year-old and charged them with “Threat of Terrorism” after the juvenile posted a threat to the Fairfield High School on social media.
The police department received multiple calls from the public on the evening of Monday, Nov. 15, reporting a Snapchat message that was being shared that warned of a shooting at Fairfield High School the following day. According to a news release from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, officers followed up on these calls and determined the post did not pose a threat to the community.
The person named on the account was interviewed, and officers discovered the account did not belong to that person, and that the account had been created by someone else. Officers were able to find the source of the fake account, and the source admitted to making the post, according to the news release. Officers charged the 15-year-old with Threat of Terrorism, a Class D felony.
“The Fairfield Police Department would like to thank the public for their quick intervention and encourage people to continue to contact law enforcement when they have concerns,” stated the news release. “Due to the help of the public and the quick work of law enforcement, it was determined that there were no credible threats toward the school and classes were able to proceed on a regular schedule.”
Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding said that, unlike the other case in the county involving two 16-year-olds charged with homicide, this defendant will be charged as a juvenile because the crime is not a forcible felony. A Class D felony is the lowest of the felony charges. If the person were an adult, the longest sentence they could receive would be five years if convicted.
Moulding said a person can be charged with making a terroristic threat even if they did not plan to carry out the act. He said the statue requires only that the people hearing the threat expect it to be carried out.
“If you’re on a plane and you say ‘I have a bomb,’ the fear you’re causing by shouting that out is the threat of terrorism,” Moulding said. “What matters is whether the person you’re saying that to thinks you mean it.”
Moulding said some cases that begin in juvenile court are waived into adult court, but he does not expect that to happen in this case.
A delinquent charge is only an accusation, and defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.