NEW ALBANY, Ind. — A substitute teacher in Crawford County has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison.
A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice’s district office in southern Indiana indicated that 35-year-old Mary Fortner of Milltown pleaded guilty to two counts of making hoax bomb threats.
Officials reported Fortner sent a bomb threat to Milltown police using an anonymous messaging application on Jan. 19. The threat targeted a Crawford County school, where she was employed as a substitute teacher.
FBI agents and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Fortner at her residence on the same day she made the bomb threats. During the interviews, Fortner denied any accusations that connected her to the bomb threat.
The DOJ also reported that a search warrant was executed at Fortner’s home, where a cell phone and other devices were recovered.
Fortner made a second threat on Feb. 21, sending an email to the Corydon Democrat — a local news outlet in Corydon, Indiana. DOJ officials indicated the email directly threatened several specific locations, including Milltown Elementary School and Corydon Cinemas.
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office executed another search warrant at Fortner’s residence the same day she sent the email to the Corydon Democrat. With assistance from the FBI, it was determined the threat came from her mobile device, which she factory reset in an attempt to conceal the crime.
DOJ officials reported that Fortner was taken into custody when HCSD executed the second search warrant at her home.
“This series of bomb threats shook the sense of safety that all of our children, teachers, and families deserve,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “(Threats) are especially egregious coming from an adult trusted to educate our children. These hoax threats needlessly caused an urgent and expansive law enforcement response.
“I commend the FBI, Harrison and Crawford County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Milltown Police Department for working together to quickly identify the perpetrator. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that threats of violence and terror are serious crimes that will not be tolerated in our communities.”
Fortner’s sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Following her release from prison, Fortner will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years, according to the DOJ. The first two months of her probation will be served on home detention.