Belchertown, MA – Chicopee Superintendent of Schools Lynn Clark was arrested on Wednesday for sending almost 100 threatening messages to a candidate for chief of police.
The complaint said the crimes occurred in December of 2021 as Chicopee was in the process of hiring a new police chief, WCVB reported.
U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office said that after one of the candidates submitted their application in November of 2021, they began receiving text messages from unknown numbers with “threats to expose information that would cause the victim reputational harm,” WWLP reported.
Officials said that Clark sent 99 threatening messages to that police chief candidate and also sent threats to the applicant’s wife.
Federal court documents said that Clark used an app to purchase and use fake phone numbers to send the threats, WWLP reported.
The victim withdrew their application for police chief as a result of the harassment, ultimately causing a long delay in the city’s selection process.
Clark initially denied having sent the messages after she was caught, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
She told investigators that the messages could have been sent by other Chicopee city employees, the victim’s colleagues, or a member of her own family, according to WWLP.
Clark later admitted she was the one who had sent the threats to discourage the applicant from seeking the police chief job.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Boston Division Spokesperson Kristen Setera said Clark was arrested at her home in Belchertown on April 6, WWLP reported.
She was charged with making false statements to federal law enforcement officials.
If convicted, the charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines.
The FBI served a search warrant on Clark’s home the same morning she was arrested and agents were seen carrying containers out of the residence, WWLP reported.
Clark was scheduled to appear in federal court in Springfield on Wednesday afternoon.
Chicopee Mayor John Vieau’s office released a statement after the school superintendent was arrested, WWLP reported.
“This morning, Superintendent of Schools, Lynn Clark was charged for making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the statement read. ‘The Mayor’s Office is aware of the situation and we are working to ensure that School Department operations continue smoothly through this transition as the education of children remains paramount.”
Vieau’s office said the school committee would meet Wednesday night in executive session to decide what to do with the situation, WWLP reported.