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
"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