A man convicted of breaking into the email accounts of pop star Christina Aguilera and actress Scarlett Johansson, stealing salacious images and publishing them on the Internet was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday (Dec. 17).
The prosecution had originally sought to imprison 35-year-old Christopher Chaney for six years, but U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said the penalty wasn't stiff enough.
Otero cited Chaney's "callous disregard" to how his behavior affected others and the fact that Chaney did not stop pursuing his victims even after the FBI took his computer.
"It's hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this," Otero said. "These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking.
Chaney, a resident of Jacksonville, Fla., could have been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
"I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed," Johansson said through tears in a videotaped statement shown in court. "I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible."
Aguilera expressed similar sentiments.
"That feeling of security can never be given back and there is no compensation that can restore the feeling one has from such a large invasion of privacy," the singer said.
Chaney illegally accessed the email accounts of more than 50 women, some of whom began to suffer from panic and anxiety attacks, thoughts of suicide and other health problems after Chaney published revealing images of them, the Associated Press reported.
"I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry," Chaney said. "I could be sentenced to never use a computer again and I wouldn't care."
When police arrested Chaney in October 2011, they found private celebrity images on his hard drive and documents that contained highly personal details, a search warrant said.
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