CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason's Office today charged three students in connection with the Orange High School bomb threats, accusing them of inducing panic by sending threats that included causing an explosion that would blast the principal's legs into 60 pieces.
The boys, ages 16 and 17, "wanted to see if they could close school for an entire week," said Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Gatti.
He said the three are known around Orange High School as computer enthusiasts who spend a good deal of time in the computer lab.
One of the boys gave police a two-paged typed statement this month about how the three hatched the threats, said Assistant Prosecutor Michael Horn, supervisor of the Juvenile Justice Unit.
"He admitted to being online in a chat forum, using an encryption code, and they started to discuss what they were going to do," said Gatti. "It was a game to them. They then sent drafts of the threats to each other, and the kids added stuff and edited them."
Prosecutors said the three sent the email threats using an online service that would mask their computers. In addition to the bomb threats, the three also allegedly sent e-mails designed to foist the blame on others.
After receiving the emailed bomb threats, Orange High School administrators shut the school down for three days.
"When the school went back in session after three days, they were upset with that so they made subsequent threats," Gatti said. This time, he said, the threats involved releasing biological material in the school.
After an initial investigation, police and the FBI raided the homes of two students on December 6 where they seized computers and other materials.
The three boys face charges of inducing panic, possession of criminal tools and telecommunications harassment.
The harassment stems from e-mails that specifically named two administrators, including one in which the emails threatened "an explosion (that) will cause the legs of (Principal) Paul Lucas to be in 60 pieces," according to the charges.
The three could face penalties between probation and incarceration lasting until they turn 21. There is no court date set for them to answer the charges.