April 16, 2020
John Michael Rathbun, 36, from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, is facing two counts of attempted arson for trying to blow up a Jewish assisted living facility, which the US attorney's office believes was a hate crime of anti-Semitism.
Ruth's House is a residence for seniors of all faiths who "value their independence, but may need assistance with day-to-day living activities." It is run by Legacy Lifecare, a non-profit management resources collaborative, founded in 2019 by two Jewish organizations: Chelsea Jewish Lifecare and JGS Lifecare.
Rathbun hid a gasoline-filled canister near the entrance to Ruth's House on April 2, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Lelling issued a statement on Wednesday, saying: "In times of national crisis, hatred based on religion often blossoms into violence. The charges in this case allege that the defendant tried to blow up a Jewish assisted living residence with a five gallon gas canister, at the same time that the facility was being discussed on white supremacist online platforms."
The statement also pointed out that Ruth's House is "located within a short distance of three Jewish temples, a Jewish private school, and a Jewish Community Center."
A Christian religious pamphlet was apparently used in the attempt to ignite the gasoline. There were blood stains on the pamphlet which matched Rathbun's DNA.
According to the US Attorney, a month before the arson attempt, a person affiliated with a white supremacist group proposed online "that jew nursing home in longmeadow massachusetts" as a place where mass murder should be carried out. An online calendar used by the same group indicated that April 3 was "jew killing day" at a "Jew Nursery Home," without a specific address.
The user who created the online calendar also posted the comment: "I hate jews. We should make a real holocaust sometimes. Only mistake Hitler made."
According to the US Attorney, Rathbun denied the charges when confronted by FBI agents, but then "when agents presented him with photographs of the bloodstained Christian pamphlet — and informed him that his DNA matched the blood, Rathbun's demeanor visibly changed, and a short while later, he stated that he did not know what he was going to do and that he wanted to cry."
A sensitive Nazi.