Twitter user accused of threatening Mt. Aloysius professor
A 19-year-old Indiana County man was expelled from Mt. Aloysius College in Cambria County and faces criminal charges of threatening a professor using Twitter.
Anthony Will Briscoe Jr. of 45 Third St., Aultman, is charged with terroristic threats, harassment by communications and disorderly conduct in connection with threatening his biology professor, Dr. Laura Michaels, in the tweet sent at 7:57 a.m. Feb. 13, police said. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 11.
According to the complaint filed by Cresson Township police Patrolman Jon Burns, Briscoe posted a tweet about Michaels that said: “DO NOT GET (expletive) WITH ME OR I WILL SLIT YOUR THROAT IN FRONT OF THE CLASS.”
Someone reported the threat to state police at Ebensburg the next day. They contacted township police, who in turn notified security officers at the college, Burns wrote in an affidavit.
“Once Mrs. Michaels was informed of the situation, she became very fearful and concerned for her safety,” it said.
Briscoe was in a 10 a.m. biology class taught by Michaels and she told police he “did not seem troubled in any way.”
Briscoe was “compliant” when police went to his dormitory room, Burns reported in the affidavit.
Briscoe told police that “he writes things like that for entertainment in that he finds it funny and other people he interacts with find it amusing as well,” the affidavit said.
Briscoe said he has “no problems” with Michaels, but “he was just bored sitting in her class when he tweeted about slitting her throat and that's why he used her name,” it said.
Briscoe “did not seem very upset or apologetic over what he had posted on Twitter about Mrs. Michaels at this time,” Burns noted.
Briscoe was expelled and “was escorted off campus property,” the officer wrote.
Jack Coyle, director of communications at Mt. Aloysius, said in an email that the college has no tolerance for such threats.
“The college has zero tolerance for threats made electronically or otherwise. We feel that removing this individual from campus was the appropriate measure,” Coyle wrote.
The complaint was filed Feb. 20 before Cresson District Judge Charity Nileski.
A message left with a family member of Briscoe at his Center Township home seeking comment was not returned.
Michaels teaches yoga, anatomy and physiology, and human biology courses at the college.
Mt. Aloysius was established in 1853 on Cresson Mountain, off Route 22, just east of Ebensburg. The college has about 2,500 students, according to its website.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.