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United Way of Lancaster County


DA: Drag story hour email threat originated in Nigeria

Police officers stand watch in the 100 block of North Queen Street, which was sealed off after discovery of a suspicious package on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Max Weidman)

The email threats that led to the cancellation of a drag story hour at the Lancaster Public Library in March originated in Nigeria, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

The individual or individuals responsible remain unknown and an arrest cannot be made. However, “the public deserves to know that the responsibility for these threats clearly lies outside our community, outside our state, and outside our nation,” District Attorney Heather Adams said in a statement announcing the closure of the investigation.

The public library’s drag story hour was scheduled for Saturday, March 23, and was to feature Christopher Pasolini, aka “Miss Amie Vanite.” It attracted large amounts of attention and controversy after Lancaster County Commissioners Josh Parsons and Ray D’Agostino publicly opposed it.

That morning, police found a suspicious package at the library, later determined to be coloring books. That led to the closure of the 100 block of North Queen Street. When the bomb threats were received around noon, the area around the block was evacuated and the story hour was canceled.

Besides the library, the email claimed bombs had been placed at the homes of multiple individuals, including the executive directors of the library and event sponsor Lancaster Pride; and an LNP reporter.

The DA said there were similar threats made the same day targeting events in other states. All came from a set of linked email accounts created from the same cell phone less than two weeks earlier.

“Neither the email accounts nor the cellular phone had any subscriber information linked to the accounts, which is not uncommon,” the office said. However, investigators were able to confirm their origin in Nigeria.

Adams said the incident is similar to a spate of threats made in late 2023 targeting Jewish institutions.

The DA’s office said indicators point to a similar origin for an April 27 email bomb threat sent to individuals in Mountville when a church there advertised a drag story hour featuring Paolini. The Mountville event was canceled shortly after it was announced.