June 18, 2020 at 11:00 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Casa Ruby threat is federal offense; FBI declines to say if it’s investigating
Casa Ruby, gay news, Washington Blade
Ruby Corado called police last week after someone threatened a violent attack on Casa Ruby. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Threats made earlier this month in a Facebook posting and in a text message by the ex-husband of a transgender woman to commit a “massacre” at D.C.’s Casa Ruby LGBTQ community services center where the trans woman is a client constitute a federal crime similar to those often investigated by the FBI, according to a statement on the FBI’s website.

A spokesperson for the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office told the Blade this week the FBI would neither confirm nor deny that it is investigating the June 6 incident, in which the ex-husband also threatened to kill the trans woman. He compared the threat he made in his Facebook posting to the mass shooting massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in 2016.

“Issuing a threat – even over social media, via text message, or through email—is a federal crime (threatening interstate communication),” the FBI states on its website. “Those who post or send these threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, or they can face state or local charges,” the FBI’s website says.

Casa Ruby founder and executive director Ruby Corado told the Blade she immediately called D.C. police to report the threat after the trans woman, who has been a Casa Ruby client for over a year, showed up on June 7 seeking help. Corado posted on her own Facebook page a screenshot of the ex-husband’s Facebook post, written in Spanish, making the threats.

Corado said she and the trans woman client provided D.C. police with the name and address of the ex-husband, who the trans woman says lived in Herndon, Va. Corado said she was hoping D.C. police would obtain a warrant for the ex-husband’s arrest to ensure he doesn’t carry out his threat. He stated in his Facebook posting he would do to Casa Ruby what a lone gunman did in the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in which 49 mostly LGBTQ Latino patrons were shot to death and 53 others were wounded.

D.C. police spokesperson Sean Hickman declined to provide information on the status of the case, including whether police know where to find the ex-husband, other than to say the case remains “under active investigation.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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