Virgin Islands congressional delegate Stacey Plaskett was the victim of a crime in which nude images of her and her husband were stolen and posted to the Internet.
Capitol Police and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia announced on Thursday that a joint investigation had led to the indictment of two of the delegate’s former staffers in connection with the incident.
Juan R. McCullum, 35, of the District of Columbia was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of cyberstalking and Dorene Brown-Louis of Upper Marlboro, Md., was indicted on two counts of obstruction of justice, a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said.
The leak was reported on July 21, 2016. At the time, Plaskett stated, “The theft and distribution of these personal images via the internet marks a new low in Virgin Islands politics. I am shocked and deeply saddened that someone would stoop to such a level as to invade my marriage and the love of my family in an attempt to besmirch me politically.”
According to the indictment, both aides had worked for Plaskett for more than a year before leaving in mid-2016. In the months prior to that, Plaskett asked McCullum to take her iPhone to an Apple store for repairs. While he had her phone, he took it upon himself to create Hotmail and Facebook accounts under a fictitious name and proceeded to distribute and post nude images of Plaskett and her husband to her friends, colleagues, and even political opponents. McCullum allegedly used the social media accounts to encourage others to spread the images and videos in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Plaskett lives and works.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,McCullum alerted Browne-Louis to his actions, who later deleted Mr. McCullum’s text messages from her phone and gave “false, incomplete, and misleading statements” to law enforcement agents.
In a statement released on Thursday, Plaskett said her privacy had been invaded last year and “an organized smear campaign and defamatory press reports concerning both me and my family” had followed. She said she was grateful to the investigators and prosecutors as well as her constituents.
Browne-Louis will appear in court on July 19, while a date fo McCullum’s appearance has yet to be scheduled.
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