BALTIMORE — A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to threatening physical harm to a Black woman and her family in Maryland.
Michael Marotta, 26, admitted that he used an anonymizing text message service to threaten physical harm to a Black woman and her family in Maryland.
“We at the U.S. Attorney’s Office take seriously our obligation to protect the civil rights of all individuals,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron. “We will not tolerate racially based threats and will prosecute such crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The vile threats issued by this defendant have no place in civilized society,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department, and specifically the Civil Rights Division, will use all tools at our disposal to ensure that people who interfere with the rights of others will be brought to justice.”
“The FBI takes threats of violence seriously,” said Thomas J. Sobocinksi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “We encourage anyone who believes their civil rights were violated to report it to their local police department or FBI field office.”
According to Marotta’s plea agreement, on April 14, 2020, Marotta used an anonymizing mobile phone application to send a threatening message to a Black Maryland woman.
In the message, Marotta used racial epithets to describe the Maryland woman and her family, and he threatened to come to their home and do physical harm.
As detailed in the plea agreement, Marotta wrote, among other things, that “I know where you live now, I’m coming to rape your family” and “eat my bullets.”
As detailed in his plea agreement, Marotta claims he does not know the recipient-victim of the message, nor does the recipient-victim know Marotta.
Marotta faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.