FBI Investigated Catholic Teen Over “Memes,” Father Claims

A father says the Biden administration targeted his family’s religious beliefs, triggering a legal onslaught.

Written by Hudson Crozier

The scoop: The FBI used online group chats to spy on a Catholic teen who posted “offensive memes” and then raided his family’s Connecticut home, according to his father, Jeremiah Rufini. This led to a state-level investigation and charges against members of the family, Rufini said on a fundraising page.

Entrapment: Rufini said his 15-year-old son secretly got involved in “group chats targeting teenage traditionalist Catholics with extreme political content.” Users asked the boy “if he had access to guns” and to send pictures of his family’s firearms, Rufini wrote. The father believes federal agents may have “operated” the chats.

The onslaught: “We were dragged out of our home at gunpoint, handcuffed and locked in a van while [the FBI] searched our home,” Rufini alleges. The bureau found no evidence the boy would commit violence and “lost interest,” but the case triggered separate state-level investigations, according to Rufini. The family's fundraising page says legal expenses have made it hard to pay bills.

  • Where it stands now: Court records show Rufini and his brother are accused of endangering a child. Rufini says the state assumes they knew of his son's “extremism” and their supposed crime is teaching him how to shoot. The boy was also convicted of disturbing the peace, he says.

Why it matters: President Joe Biden’s FBI has already investigated Virginia churches for “radical traditionalist Catholic ideology” — but promised not to allow such politicized investigations in the future. Rufini’s story suggests this hostility toward religious conservatives runs deep.