Man accused of hacking hospital computers wages hunger strike

Man who acknowledged he hacked a Boston children's hospital two years ago is waging a hunger strike in prison as he awaits trial.

Martin Gottesfeld, who was arrested in February, is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday in U.S. District Court on charges of conspiracy and intentionally causing damage to protected computers.

Gottesfeld claims the hacking was in protest of the treatment of a teenage patient caught up in a custody fight between Massachusetts and her parents following conflicting medical diagnoses. He said his three-week-old hunger strike is to bring attention to two more causes: the treatment of troubled youth in institutions and "political prosecutions" by prosecutors he considers overzealous, including U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in Massachusetts.

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Prosecutors say he allegedly posted a YouTube video on behalf of the hacking group Anonymous. The alleged video included a computer-generated voice stating, "To the Boston Children's Hospital — why do you employee people that clearly do not put patients first?" The video called for the firing of a physician who treated Pelletier and said, "Test us, and you shall fail."

Gottesfeld is seeking for the presidential candidates to make a pledge to protect the children who are in residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals and other institutions. He also mentioned that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for harmless crimes.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Gottesfeld said he will not eat again until these demands are met. However, he acknowledges that he occasionally has consumed chicken broth, Gatorade and soft drinks, dropping in weight from 204 pounds to 182.

"I love my life and I love my wife, and I want to get back to both of them very badly, but this cause is more important than any one individual. And the suffering of these children must stop, and the persecution of these advocates also must stop," Gottesfeld said from the detention facility he is being held before trial in Rhode Island.

Gottesfeld acknowledges launching the attack that allegedly put the hospital’s website out of service and disabled the fundraising portal causing the hospital to allegedly spend over $300,000 addressing the hacking and lost an additional $300,000 in donations.

"I haven't hurt anybody. There's no allegation that any patients were harmed by anything that I did," Gottesfeld said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.