A former Northeastern University employee who lives in Texas has been charged with fabricating a bomb scare at the Boston college last month.
Jason Duhaime, 45, was arrested Tuesday in the Lone Star State to face charges of lying to FBI investigators about the explosive device in connection with the alleged Sept. 13 hoax, officials said Tuesday.
The suspect — who worked as a New Technology Manager and Director of the
Immersive Media Lab — told investigators he was injured in his lab by “very sharp” objects that flew out of a Pelican briefcase that also contained a threatening letter, the FBI said in an affidavit filed in federal court Monday.
A bomb squad found no evidence of explosive materials and investigators determined that Duhaime authored the suspicious missive — which included lines like “this VR lab is trying to change us as a world” and “We know you are working with Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and the US Government!!!!,” investigators said.
The plastic case didn’t bear “any marks, dents, cracks, holes, or other signs that it had been exposed to a forceful or explosive discharge” and the letter was found in “pristine” condition, officials wrote in the filing.
The suspect had superficial wounds under his shirt but there was no damage to his shirt, and a second suspicious package flagged by him was not found to be dangerous, according to the affidavit.
A witness identified in court papers as Student 1 told the FBI that they heard only screaming, not an explosion, coming from the closet where Duhaime said he opened the case.
Duhaime worked full-time at the university, but did not maintain a home in Massachusetts, choosing to instead sleep in his lab or office for weeks at a time before sporadically decamping to Texas, according to the affidavit.
“As we all know in Boston, Mr. Duhaime’s 911 call generated a significant response,” US Attorney Rachael Rollins said during a Tuesday morning press conference to announce the arrest, according to WBTS-TV.
“A large portion of Northeastern’s campus was evacuated and the Northeastern Police Department issued numerous campus-wide alerts, one of which described an explosion on campus.”
Duhaime vehemently denied wrongdoing in connection with the incident during an interview with The Boston Globe last month.
“I love the college. I’ve worked there for eight years, and supported faculty and students,” he reportedly said.
“This is crazy. . . . I cannot believe people are spreading rumors about this.”
Northeastern University told The Post in a statement Tuesday that Duhaime was no longer employed the school.