Austin Santoro Credit: Kittery Police Department

Charged with 11 federal crimes alleging he sent threatening emails, which appeared to be from area police and education officials, Austin Santoro is scheduled for a competency hearing Friday in the U.S. District Court of Maine.

Santoro, 22, of 122 Cider Hill Road, York, Maine, notified the court in May that he planned to launch an insanity defense. A psychiatric report was sent to the court on Nov. 8 under seal.

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In September, Santoro’s lawyer J. Hilary Billings gave consent to the federal government’s motion to revoke his client’s bail. The notice states Santoro previously agreed to submit to custody of the attorney general’s office, while seeking a competency determination.

He is alleged to have assaulted his father in April while under bail conditions mandating his good behavior. Those conditions were set earlier in April when he was arrested for five federal counts of transmitting threatening interstate communications, two counts of maliciously conveying false information concerning use of an explosive and four counts of identity theft. Each charge carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

[Man accused of violent threats to use insanity defense]

Some of the federal charges allege Santoro sent emails that appeared to be from Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Merner to female members of the Police Department, containing threats of rape at gunpoint. Santoro is also alleged to have sent 10 emails to the York Police Department, three to the Kittery Police Department, seven involving Boston University, eight involving York County Community College, seven related to the town of York and one associated with the York School Department.

According to an affidavit by Homeland Security Agent Derek Dunn, to mask the source of the emails, Santoro used an electronic service based in the Czech Republic, which cooperated with the investigation.

If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.

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