DEDHAM (CBS) – A Dedham man is in custody tonight facing federal charges after he allegedly made racist and violent posts on Facebook that targeted an inter-racial couple.
Prosecutors said Stephen M. DeBerardinis, 45, of Boston and Dedham, made the posts after a white woman and a Black man announced their engagement. He did not know the couple.READ MORE: Record Fall Warmth: An Unprecedented Autumn In New England
“My office aggressively prosecutes people who threaten racially motivated violence because such threats are illegal, despicable and an affront to American values,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell.READ MORE: As Pediatricians Get Ready To Give COVID Vaccine To Children, Some Doctors Say Review The Data
Investigators said DeBerardinis used Facebook Messenger to send racist messages to the couple and threatened to hurt them if they went to the police.
“Today’s arrest cannot mitigate the fear that Stephen DeBerardinis caused, and the sense of security this couple lost, but it does bring him to justice for allegedly sending a series of rage-filled messages threatening horrific acts of violence,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division.MORE NEWS: 'We Thought It Was Going To Explode' Fans On Way To ALCS At Fenway Talk About Houston Plane Crash
If convicted, DeBerardinis could face several years in prison.