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Bomb threat emailed to Moline school connected to after school 'Satan Club'

Schools across the county have been targeted in the past few weeks and the "After School Satan Club" may be the common thread, according to the Moline Police Chief.

MOLINE, Ill. — Editor's note: The video above first aired Jan. 12, 2022.

A threatening email referencing a bomb in Jane Addams Elementary School in Moline was sent on Thursday, according to Moline Police Chief Darren Gault. The email "expressed frustration over the existence of the After School Satan Club."

The email was sent to various email addresses belonging to Moline schools, along with several locations in Virginia, around 8:45 a.m. on March 2. The reference to the Moline school was misspelled in the subject of the email, as "Jane Adams Elementary."

The Moline Police Department "takes all threats seriously and investigates each one thoroughly," Gault said in an email to News 8. The department sent a team to investigate and found no evidence of a bomb at the elementary school.

Schools across the county have been targeted in the past few weeks and the "After School Satan Club" seems to be a common thread, according to Gault.

"The After School Satan Club is a shock tactic to create controversy around religious clubs in schools. This club seems to be the center of the bomb threats that are currently under investigation," Chief Gault said.

The club was first offered at the Moline school in January 2022. The school district by law cannot discriminate against any group who wishes to rent their facilities.

RELATED: Parents have mixed reactions to after-school 'Satan Club' at Moline elementary school

The Moline-Coal Valley School District sent out the following statement in January 2022:

"The Moline-Coal Valley School District and Board of Education have policies and administrative procedures in place which allow for community use of its publicly funded facilities outside the day. The district does not discriminate against any groups who wish to rent our facilities, including religious-affiliated groups."

According to the Satanic Temple, After-School Satan Clubs "focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors."

In January 2022, News 8's Jenna Webster spoke to the co-founder of the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, who explained that the After School Satan Club has nothing to do with teaching kids to worship the devil. Instead, he said the curriculum emphasizes the development of reasoning and social skills. Club members will do activities such as science and art projects.

"This actually isn't a club that's meant to proselytize Satanism or even engage in discussions about religious opinion," Greaves said. "This is an educational program meant to focus on critical thinking and just basic education skills."

Greaves said he's often asked, "Why attach the word 'Satan' to the club?"

"I think we'd be a lot worse if we were to do this under a different name and then it came out that we're The Satanic Temple," he said. "I think it's better to be forthright about the fact that The Satanic Temple is operating this and let people know up front that we're not teaching religion or religious opinion."

RELATED: No, your kids aren't learning to worship Satan at 'After School Satan Club'

The Satanic Temple aims to open their after-school clubs at schools who also host the Child Evangelism Fellowship's Good News Club.

According to the fellowship, its one-hour programs are "designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment."

The school district received a similar threatening email shortly after the After School Satan Club at Jane Addams came to light, on Feb. 22, 2022.

Gault said that the Moline Police Department is working with the Illinois Statewide Terrorism Information Center and the FBI to "coordinate investigations across the state and nationwide ... The FBI will play a key role in assisting us, as well as other impacted jurisdictions around the country."

Gault said the emails have been traced to a source outside of the U.S.

Moline Police report that the school day was not interrupted and that the school notified parents of students.

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