By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A 20-year-old Stillwater man accused of using a computer at Oklahoma State University to threaten the lives of 83 members of the Texas House of Representatives and 18 Texas state senators over an abortion law has been jailed on $25,000 bail pending his arraignment today before a Payne County judge.
If convicted of violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act, Austin Wendell Scott Lund could be given a 10-year prison term and a $100,000 fine, according to the charge filed following an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Joint Terrorism Task Force, the OSU Information Technology Department, and OSU Police Officer Kyle McCool.
Lund posted on Reddit on Sept. 3, “I am filled with rage at the Texas abortion law passing. I am preparing to end each one of you! I won’t say when and maybe I don’t get you all, but I intend to see your lifeless corpses ragdoll about before my time on this earth ends! You are not people to me and if I get the chance I plan to play out my sickest fantasies with your bodies. I fully intend to!” a police affidavit alleged.
Lund posted another threat on Reddit on Sept. 17, “Every female who voted yes on the bill will be personally raped by me!” the affidavit alleged.
“FBI investigators contacted the Texas State Department of Public Safety and the Texas State Legislature to notify the victims of the threat. Twenty-eight members of the legislature, whose names were listed, stated they felt their life was being threatened by the post and indicated they wanted to prosecute,” according to the affidavit.
Lund was arrested on Sept. 22 after the OSU police officer met with FBI Task Force Officer Thomas VanNort that evening at 6 pm, an affidavit said.
On Sept. 17, FBI Oklahoma City Joint Terrorism Task Force had been advised by the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center about an email tip on Sept. 16 from Reddit Legal Support that user “househunter82” threatened to kill over 100 Texas state legislators who voted for a recent law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, an affidavit alleged.
OSU IT provided verification that the IP address on Sept. 3 was located at a campus apartment for which a federal search warrant was issued on Sept. 22, the affidavit alleged. OSU reported to the FBI that their records showed that the apartment’s sole occupant was a woman, who was later identified as Lund’s girlfriend, the affidavit alleged.
When federal agents and local officers went to the location on Sept. 22, Lund’s girlfriend was outside her residence and used her phone to ask Lund to come outside, the affidavit alleged.
Lund started to come outside where he met FBI Task Force Officer Thomas VanNort, who “explained the purpose of the visit, to serve a federal search warrant, and was obtaining background information on the residence when Lund made a statement indicating potential knowledge of the threat,” and agreed to continue speaking without an attorney present, the affidavit alleged.
“During the following conversation, Lund admitted to creating the involved online accounts, making the initial threat to the Texas Legislature, and the follow-up threat. Lund admitted the message was threatening in nature and would be taken as such if someone else read it. Lund denied taking any steps in furtherance of the threat and denied an intent to carry the threat out,” the affidavit alleged.