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Posted 27 Aug 2001   For week ended August 17, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 24Aug01

By Rosemary Pollock

Woman Charged with Threats Against BYU, President Bateman

PROVO, UTAH -- A threatening letter promising to "damage or destroy a building or real property by means of fire and explosives," was received by the secretary to BYU President, Merrill J. Bateman, on August 6, according to Brigham Young University Police Lt. Greg Barber. Concerned with the dangerous nature of the letter, BYU police immediately informed the FBI, leading to the indictment of Lavanya Paul by a federal grand jury on charges of trying to extort $1 million from BYU President, Merrill J. Bateman. The Wednesday, August 15th indictment against Lavanya Paul, 28, a native of India, charged her with extortion and "willfully threatening to kill, injure and intimate" President Bateman.

Due to the severity of the crime, BYU has referred all questions to the U.S. Attorney's office in Salt Lake City. "We turned it over to the proper authorities," said BYU spokesman, Michael Smart. "Paul has been summoned to appear in federal court sometime next week. She will appear in court and enter her plea," said Melodie Rydalch, U.S. Attorney's office public information officer.

"This is the beginning of a long process," Rydalch said. "The threats that she made are very serious." Due to further information received by U. S. Distric Attorney, Paul Warner, Lavanya Paul has not been taken into custody. The U. S. Attorney's office does not believe she is a threat at this time.

NewsNet, an online version of BYU's campus newspaper, reported that Paul made an appearance at a religious devotional as a student helping to expand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' reach in India. She had previously worked on translations of Church doctrine into Hindi, according to former BYU Vice-President, Alton Wade.


Woman tries to shake down BYU president
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner (AP) 17Aug01 D2
The Associated Press

Accused woman is indicted for threat
BYU NewsNet 17Aug01 D3
By Sharon Ugolini: NewsNet Staff Writer


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