Former Pitt student hopes to clear name in bomb threats case

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A former student whose expulsion from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in January piqued the interest of federal investigators probing bomb threats on Pitt's main campus expressed optimism Friday that providing authorities with his fingerprints and writing samples would stop the scrutiny.

"I hope this finally clears me because I'm completely innocent," said Seamus Johnston, 22, of Jackson, Cambria County, upon leaving the federal building, Downtown.

Mr. Johnston's partner, Katherine Anne McCloskey, 56, who also had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh to provide fingerprints and writing samples, said in a telephone interview she could not do so Friday because she had injured herself in a fall the preceding night. She said she would provide the samples when she appears before the grand jury on May 22.

The couple had refused to provide the samples when they appeared under subpoena at the federal building on April 17 but said they would do so after being threatened with a contempt of court citation.

Mr. Johnston, who was born as a woman but who identifies as a male, said he was told by the FBI that he was being investigated because of clashes with school officials. He was expelled from Pitt-Johnstown in January after being arrested by university police for repeatedly using the men's locker room despite being told not to do so. He faces trial May 31 on misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure, defiant trespass and disorderly conduct.

Ms. McCloskey, who was born as a man but identifies as a woman, said the return Thursday of the couple's computer equipment seized in the probe could mean they no longer are considered persons of interest in the probe.

"I can't say for sure, but basically giving the stuff back is their way of saying, 'Sorry, we [messed] up.' "

Federal officials declined to comment.

neigh_city

Michael A. Fuoco: mfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1968. First Published April 28, 2012 12:45 AM


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