Lehighton man sentenced to 18 months for internet threats against the Jewish community

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The attorney’s office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on Tuesday a Lehighton man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for threatening to injure others.

According to a press release from the United State’s Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, 32-year-old Corbin Kauffman admitted to posting a self-edited image online in March 2019, of his own hand aiming a AR-15 rifle of praying Jewish men gathered in a synagogue.

They say that on the same day he posted the threatening image, Kauffman shared support for the shooter of the October 27, 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 and injured several more.

Pittsburgh_Synagogue_Shooting_17215-159532.jpg65813337
In this Dec. 2, 2018 photo, a menorah is tested outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in preparation for a celebration service at sundown on the first night of Hanukkah, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. A $6.3 million fund established in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre will primarily be split among the families of the dead and survivors of the worst attack on Jews in U.S. history. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh made the announcement Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

He also posted a photograph depicting vandalism he committed by defacing a display case at the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center in Ocean City, Maryland, with white supremacist and anti-Semitic stickers, the court says.

The judge said Kauffman used various aliases online to post hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-black and
anti-Muslim messages, images and videos including threats to various religious and racial groups and posts expressing a desire to commit genocide and “hate crimes”.

The following statement was released from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“While the disturbing and violent images and messages Kauffman posted online were abhorrent, that does not mean they were all criminal. Even abhorrent speech is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.” But when the speech crosses the line into threats, particularly threats directed at vulnerable communities, we will not tolerate that behavior. Vulnerable communities are entitled to feel safe in living their lives and exercising their own rights. Under federal law, when you target a person or a group because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation,
that is a hate crime.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Brandler

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