Some victims of a Republican presidential campaigner from Long Island who tried extorting nude photos from 15 women fled the country, sought therapy and hired private investigators to deal with the stalking.
Those were among new details described in court documents when U.S. District Judge Marianna Battani this week sentenced 22-year-old Adam Savader of Great Neck to 2 ½ years in federal prison despite his attorneys’ blaming the hacking on mental health issues sparked by working on Newt Gingrich’s failed presidential campaign.
“He said that he had hacked into my email and Facebook accounts, found explicit photos of me, and that if I did not send more to him he would use them against me,” one of the unidentified victims wrote in a letter to the court. “This harassment continued relentlessly for days at a time, would stop for a few days, and then resume again from a different number.”
Savader—who later worked on Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House—had pleaded guilty in November to cyber stalking and Internet extortion at federal court in Michigan, where some of the victims went to college. Authorities said they found victims in at least three states that were targeted between 2012 and early 2013, after the campaign.
“I’m trying to make it right,” Savader told the court in his apology, reported The Associated Press, which noted he was quoting President Bill Clinton’s apology for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
It was a much different tone than the sexually aggressive taunts that prosecutors outlined in their sentencing recommendation.
“Just came to u,” he wrote to one of the victims two weeks before Election Day while he was on the GOP campaign trail. “Ur so hot. Every1 will be doing the same if you don’t respond.”
Savader threatened to send the photos to various people in the victims’ lives, including their parents, their boyfriends’ parents, sororities, employers, internships—even the Republican National Committee.
He often sent victims a link to a website to which he had uploaded their nude photos to prove he had them and warned that he would share the link if they didn’t send more. More victims came forward after the case made news. Investigators said they found 45 nude photos of the victims in Savader’s files—some of whom could not be contacted.
One victim wrote she had to turn her phone off to stop receiving the relentless threatening messages. It was impossible to block the numbers because they were constantly changing, she wrote.
“In an effort to escape this situation [one victim] left school in January 2013 to study abroad halfway around the world,” prosecutors said in the documents.
Countering his lawyers’ arguments that Savader’s mental health diagnoses should be considered as a mitigating factor, prosecutors asked: “If he didn’t believe his behavior was criminal, why did he take so many deliberate steps to conceal his identity and hide his electronic footprint?”
Authorities also noted that the victims are not to blame for storing intimate photos on password-protected email accounts, which they likened to “the modern-day equivalent of storing photographs in a shoe-box, in a closed bedroom closet, behind a locked door.”