Former Massachusetts School Superintendent Pleads Guilty To Sending Threatening Texts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — The former superintendent of the Chicopee Public Schools in Massachusetts pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to federal agents investigating 99 threatening text messages sent to a candidate for police chief in 2021, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Lynn Clark, 53, of Belchertown, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni has scheduled sentencing for April 30.

Chicopee, a city of about 55,000 residents roughly 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Boston, was in the process of hiring a new police chief in December 2021 when law enforcement received a report that a candidate for the job had received texts from unknown numbers that seemed intended to force them to withdraw, prosecutors said.

The candidate pulled their application, and the city delayed the selection process. Clark was charged in April, 2022 and removed from her duties as superintendent a few weeks later.

Investigators said about 99 threatening messages threatening “reputational harm” were sent from fictitious phone numbers purchased through a mobile app. Phone and internet records revealed the numbers were purchased by Clark and that the accounts sent each of the threatening messages.

Investigators said Clark falsely said she received threatening text messages from unknown phone numbers, when, in fact, she sent the messages to herself.

She also falsely named other city workers who she felt may be responsible for sending the messages, according to prosecutors. They said Clark also denied that she had downloaded a mobile app with which she purchased the fictitious phone numbers to send the messages.

Clark later admitted that she sent the messages and downloaded the app, prosecutors said.

The charges of making false statements each carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $10,000.