U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins announced Tuesday that 45-year-old Jason Duhaime is accused of fabricating the incident and giving false information to law enforcement officials.
Officials said Duhaime called 911 around 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 and told the operator a hard plastic case he opened inside a campus lab expelled sharp objects and injured his arms. Duhaime claimed the case contained a “violent note,” according to Rollins.
Duhaime told federal agents he and a student retrieved several packages from a mail area, including two hard plastic cases. Duhaime then opened one of the cases inside a storage closet, where it allegedly exploded.
Law enforcement officials responding to the incident found an empty and undamaged plastic case, Rollins said. They did not find the threatening letter, and the case did not show any signs of an explosion. The storage closet where Duhaime allegedly opened the case was also undisturbed.
When interviewed by law enforcement officials, Duhaime denied fabricating the story, according to Rollins.
Officials also seized a computer from the laboratory where Duhaime worked and found an electronic copy of the allegedly violent note. The file was created four hours before Duhaime called 911.
“This alleged conduct is disturbing, to say the least,” Rollins added. “Our city more than most knows all too well that a report or threat of an explosion is a very serious matter and necessitates an immediate and significant law enforcement response given the potential devastation that can ensue.”
Duhaime is charged with 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.
At the time of the incident, Duhaime was the new technology manager and director of the Immersive Media Lab at Northeastern University. Duhaime’s report prompted a large police response and an evacuation of a part of campus.
The university initially said a staff member suffered minor injuries when a package exploded.
Duhaime was arrested Tuesday morning in Texas and is scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday afternoon.