A former Congressional staffer has been indicted on charges of cyberstalking after allegedly distributing nude pictures and videos of a member of the US House of Representatives and her husband, the US Justice Department announced today.
Juan McCullum worked as a legislative assistant to Delegate Stacey Plaskett, a non-voting Democratic delegate for the Virgin Islands. According to the indictment, which was unsealed today, McCullum took Plaskett's iPhone to the Apple Store in March 2016 to have it repaired.
But after McCullum left his job later that year, he set up email and Facebook accounts under fake names and began working to distribute the images and videos, the indictment claims. "He encouraged others on social media to redistribute the images and videos in the member's congressional district," the US Attorney's Office said in a press release.
The images became public in July 2016. At the time, Plaskett said she'd been hacked and that that the incident was reported to the FBI.
"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," Plaskett told Politico at the time. "The theft and dissemination of these images via the internet is a shockingly disgusting invasion of my family's and my privacy — not to mention criminal acts in violation of both territorial and federal law."
Plaskett, who was up for reelection, initially suggested the images were being distributed by a political enemy, Politico reports. But it seems the culprit was closer to home.
McCullum, who once appeared on the VH1 dating show I Love New York as "Pretty", allegedly shared his plans with another staffer, Dorene Browne-Louis, who was indicted for obstruction of justice in connection with the leak of the images. McCullum sent texts to Browne-Louis describing what he was doing and emailed her the photos and videos, according to the indictment. Browne-Louis pleaded not guilty today during a court appearance.