Ex-congressional staffer who leaked nude images gets 1 year in prison

WASHINGTON — A former congressional staffer will spend more than a year in prison for sharing private, nude images and videos of the delegate and the member’s spouse online.

On Thursday, Judge John D. Bates sentenced 36-year-old Juan McCullum, of D.C., to a year and a day in prison for his role in sharing nude images and videos of Del. Stacey Plaskett,a Democrat who represents the Virgin Islands, as well as her spouse.

WTOP does not name victims, however, Plaskett addressed the charges last year and acknowledged that she was the victim in the case.

In January, McCullum pleaded guilty to two federal cyber-related charges and two D.C. offenses of conspiracy to disclose sexual images and attempted first-degree unlawful publication of a sexual image.

As part of a plea deal, McCullum was sentenced to one year and 361 days of incarceration, with all but one year and a day suspended on the condition that he does two years of probation, including 100 hours of community service.

In March 2016, McCullum was tasked with taking his boss’s malfunctioning, password-protected iPhone to the Apple store. Plaskett provided the password for the device — which contained the private, nude images and videos — so that it could be unlocked by the Apple store during the repair process, according to prosecutors.

McCullum stopped working for the delegate in June 2016, and a month later, prosecutors said he created email and Facebook accounts under a fake name to share the personal videos and images he took off the iPhone in March. Also, McCullum encouraged others on social media to redistribute the images and videos in the member’s congressional district, prosecutors said.

McCullum made 45-year-old Dorene Browne-Louis, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, aware that he was in possession of the images from the iPhone. The two worked in Plaskett’s office at the same time. Browne-Louis provided McCullum with email addresses and other contact information to distribute the images, and distributed one of the nude images to a person who was working on the campaign of a challenger to Plaskett’s primary election, prosecutors said.

McCullum and Browne-Louis were indicted in July 2017 following an investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police.

Browne-Louis pleaded guilty in January to one federal cyber charge and the D.C. offense of conspiracy to disclose sexual images. She is scheduled to be sentenced on April 23, 2018.

In her impact statement to the judge, Plaskett said the posting of the images and video hurt her and her family.

“Knowing that everyone knows what I look like is a mortifying horrendous feeling,” she wrote. “When I’m home in the Virgin Islands, sometimes I wonder when I’m out in public – who has seen me, who knows what I look like.”

She said the crime did help her see how much love she had around her, and the support others gave the delegate and her family after the images and video went public.

“This crime helped me see how much love I had around me,” she wrote.

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