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A Rhode Island man who allegedly sent a series of violent and threatening emails to a Massachusetts college professor will undergo a mental health evaluation.
Matthew Haviland, 30, of North Kingstown, was arrested Wednesday and charged with cyberstalking and transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. Authorities say he threatened to rape a Harvard University professor, rip her face off and eat her alive.
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A hearing Monday lasted just a few minutes, as Haviland entered into a voluntary order of detention. His attorney, Scott Lauer, said the case has "raised some concerns about Mr. Haviland's mental health."
As a result, more time is needed to assess Haviland and reach a diagnosis.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Haviland sent the professor a string of 28 emails over the span of several hours on March 20, containing messages including threats like, "I will rip your limb from your body and eat it, piece by piece," and "I will bite through your eyeballs while you're still alive, and I will laugh while you scream."
The professor has published and spoken in favor of abortion rights, and federal prosecutors said several of Haviland's emails referenced this. In two successive e-mails, he wrote, "You will be held accountable for every [expletive] baby you murdered through your horrible deception of they are not humans," and "You will have your face ripped off and eaten by me, personally. I will enjoy raping your body after you’re dead. And that will only be the start."
Haviland, who on YouTube is vocal about his anti-abortion views, attended college in Boston until 2012.
Outside court Monday, Haviland's family members said they were shocked by the messages he allegedly wrote. However, they declined to comment on his mental state, telling NBC10 Boston they would like to keep the matter private.
The federal complaint against Haviland includes a description of abortion-related messages he is alleged to have sent or posted on the internet.
Those messages included approximately 114 voice messages that he left overnight at a women’s medical center beginning April 4, and text messages he sent to an acquaintance that included the following: "It never was a Woman’s rights issue. It’s literally killing babies. That’s All it is, and We want you to stop it. Or we will kill you to do it. It’s that Serious. It’s not a Joke." In an internet posting allegedly written on March 29, prosecutors said Haviland wrote, "You guys are so evil and so brainwashed, I would kill every one of you with my bare hands—or AT LEAST kill every abortion doctor."
The charges of cyberstalking and transmitting a threat in interstate commerce carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The investigation is ongoing, and is being conducted by the FBI with assistance from Warwick and North Kingstown, Rhode Island police.