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Former Northeastern employee charged with creating hoax over campus explosion

The pelican case that investigators said did not contain an explosive and the letter that was inside it. The case was opened by Jason Duhaime, a former Northeastern University employee who has been arrested for staging the package explosion at Northeastern on Sept. 13 and providing false information to the police. COURTESY OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

A former Northeastern University employee was arrested today in San Antonio, Texas on charges of staging the package explosion on Sept. 13 and providing false information to the police.

Jason Duhaime, former new technology manager and director of the immersive media lab at Northeastern, was charged on “one count of intentionally conveying false and misleading information related to an explosive device and one count of making materially false statements to a federal law enforcement agent,” according to a press release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

“In this case, we believe Mr. Duhaime wanted to be the victim, but instead victimized his entire community by instilling fear at college campuses in Massachusetts and beyond,” said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Joe Bonavolonta said in a news conference.

The day of the incident, Duhaime, 45, called 911 at around 7 p.m., where he described “very sharp” objects hitting his hands from a plastic case, where he also found a “violent note” that threatened the lab, according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed by the FBI.

When the FBI and bomb technicians responded to the scene at Holmes Hall, no sharp objects were found as Duhaime described.

The affidavit also wrote that an identical copy of the “violent note” was found  in a backup folder on a university-owned computer in Duhaime’s Northeastern office, with evidence supporting that the file was created and edited on the device.

In addition, Duhaime’s statement was inconsistent with the statement of the student who accompanied Duhaime in the events leading up to the 911 call, according to the affidavit. 

In an interview with the Boston Globe on Sept. 14, Duhaime said he did not fabricate the event. 

“I love the college. I’ve worked there for eight years and supported faculty and students,” Duhaime said to the Globe. ”This is crazy … I cannot believe people are spreading rumors about this.”

A motive has not been established, and the case is still ongoing.

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