BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio)— The FBI arrested and charged a Boston and Dedham man Wednesday for allegedly harassing and threatening an interracial couple over Facebook Messenger, according to the Department of Justice.
Stephen M. DeBerardinis, 45, allegedly targeted the couple in January 2021 shortly after they posted their engagement announcement on Facebook. Shortly after the announcement, DeBerardinis reportedly began to message the couple over Facebook, sending explicit and threatening messages about their races and relationship.
When the victims told DeBerardinis they planned to contact local authorities, he allegedly began to threaten violence against the couple if they reported him, including sending a photo of brass knuckles. The victims reported DeBerardinis to their local police department who in turn contacted federal authorities.
“Today’s arrest cannot mitigate the fear that Stephen DeBerardinis caused, and the sense of security this couple lost, but it does bring him to justice for allegedly sending a series of rage-filled messages threatening horrific acts of violence,” Joseph Bonavolonta of the Boston division of the FBI said in a statement.
DeBerardinis was charged with threatening to injure across state lines and tampering with a witness using intimidation, threats, and harassment. Officials said DeBerardinis did not know the couple personally.
He will appear in federal court on Wednesday.