NEWARK, NJ – A Hudson County grand jury returned a 13-count indictment charging John Coulouris, 18, of Hackensack with making threats to Livingston High School on social media that resulted in the shutdown of the school last fall, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray announced Wednesday.
According to Murray, the case was moved from Essex County, where the crimes occurred, to Hudson County because Coulouris is charged with threatening to send a bomb to the home of a Superior Court Judge in Essex County.
Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Giordano, who is handling the case, said Coulouris is accused of sending nude photographs of a 16-year-old ex-girlfriend, who lived in Livingston, on social media, as well as cyber-harassment for threats against the girl and her family. Coulouris is also accused of impersonating the ex-girlfriend, her family and a Livingston police detective as part of an effort to thwart the investigation.
“The perceived anonymity of the Internet does not mean that our criminal laws will not be enforced,” said Giordano. “With the assistance of Livingston Police and the FBI, our Special Victims and F.A.C.T.S. units we were able to gather the necessary evidence.”
The indictment further states that Coulouris falsely threatened to bring a deadly weapon to Livingston High School and kill students on two separate dates and also made threats against various members of law enforcement.
The harassment and threats began in September 2016 and continued until December 2016.
According to a press release issued by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, “the case is novel in that some of the charges fall under the newly enhanced ‘swatting law,’” which allows law enforcement to bring second-degree offenses when individuals make threats that are likely to result in SWAT teams responding to the home of a victim or perpetrator. Under the old law, such offenses were third-degree crimes, the release states.
Coulouris is currently being held on $400,000 cash-only bail and proceedings will be held in Hudson County.