WASHINGTON — Two former staff members of a delegate to Congress from the U.S. Virgin Islands pleaded guilty to distributing nude photos and videos of the member and her husband in an attempt to derail her political career, federal prosecutors here announced Tuesday.
Juan R. McCullum and Dorene Browne-Louis, staffers for Democrat Stacey Plaskett between 2015 and 2016, pleaded guilty to federal cyber-related charges and a District of Columbia conspiracy to disclose sexual images offense. McCullum faces an additional charge of attempted first-degree unlawful publication of a sexual image.
The federal charges carry a maximum of one year in prison, and the local D.C. offenses are worth up to 180 days in jail. McCullum will be sentenced in March and Browne-Louis in April, officials said.
Authorities did not name Plaskett in the announcement, but an indictment last summer refers to the victim as “Delegate S.P.”
And Plaskett, a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives from the U.S. Virgin Islands, issued a statement at that time thanking law enforcement for investigating the "egregious acts."
An investigation by Capitol Police found McCullum had taken nude images and photos from Plaskett’s iPhone after offering to help repair the device. McCullum then created an email address under a fake name in July 2016, after he had left the delegate’s office, and sent the images to her political opponents, reporters and others, and encouraged the photos to be shared in the delegate’s district.
Browne-Louis helped provide email addresses to McCullum and sent one of the private images to a rival campaign, the investigation found.
The episode did little to derail Plaskett’s political career, and she easily cruised to re-election in 2016.