By CBSBoston.com Staff

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.

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Stephen DeBerardinis (WBZ-TV)

“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.

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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.

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If convicted, DeBerardinis could face several years in prison.

CBSBoston.com Staff