Two former congressional staffers pleaded guilty Tuesday on charges stemming from the spreading of nude and embarrassing images online of their lawmaker boss, the delegate to Congress from the US Virgin Islands, according to the US attorney in Washington, DC.
According to court documents, Juan McCullum took “private, nude images and videos” from the cellphone of Del. Stacey Plaskett in March 2016 after offering to “assist (the delegate) in repairing her malfunctioning, password-protected cellular phone by taking her iPhone to a local Apple store.”
The following July, an indictment alleges, McCullum created a fake email account and sent at least 10 messages with one or more of the images attached to members of the media, other politicians and people known to Plaskett. He also posted the images online to a phony Facebook account, the indictment says.
McCullum, 36, pleaded guilty to two federal cyber-related charges and two offenses, including conspiracy to disclose sexual images and attempted first-degree unlawful publication of a sexual image. Another former Plaskett staffer, Dorene Browne-Louis, 45, pleaded guilty to one federal cyber charge and conspiracy to disclose sexual images.
“My family and I are thankful for the efforts of the United States Capitol Police and the United States Attorney’s Office in holding accountable the individuals responsible for the violation of privacy perpetuated against my family and me,” Plaskett said in a statement Tuesday. “We have put this incident behind us and are grateful for those who worked to bring closure to this matter.”
An aide to the delegate last year told CNN the images included a topless photo of Plaskett and an “innocent” video of her husband wearing makeup and playing with their daughter.
McCullum, in an interview with the DC newspaper The Hill in 2015, identified himself as a general counsel to Plaskett.
In the profile, where he was named one of the “50 most beautiful people” in politics, McCullum discussed his time as a reality TV star on the VH1 show “I Love New York.”
He wasn’t embarrassed to be on reality TV, he told the paper, adding “It’s part of my journey in life.”