A former high school teacher has been sentenced to serve almost three years behind bars for hacking into the private digital accounts of celebrities.
Christopher Brannan has become the fifth person charged in the 2014 scandal, which exposed candid shots of Jennifer Lawrence and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, among others.
Prosecutors claimed he accessed email accounts of the stars by answering security questions he researched by reviewing his victims’ Facebook accounts and used techniques designed to resemble security accounts from Apple.
Brannan, 31, pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and unauthorised access to a protected computer late last year, and he was sentenced to serve 34 months in prison on Friday (01Mar19).
Apologising for his actions, the disgraced teacher confessed he became addicted to pornography during a bout of anxiety and depression and he let that “take control”, adding, “I deeply regret that”.
He also admitted to hacking or attempting to hack the accounts of fellow teachers at Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia – and students, according to Billboard.
Brannan will begin serving his sentence on 1 April.
George Garofano, the hacker who leaked naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, was sentenced to serve eight months behind bars last year.
The 27 year old pleaded guilty in April (18), confessing he posed as a member of Apple’s online security to access usernames and passwords.
He was another of the five people charged in a celebrity hacking scandal, which began in 2014 and also involved Ariana Grande and Kirsten Dunst.
At his sentencing, Garofano insisted he had learned from his mistakes and accepted what he did was “legally and morally wrong”, adding, “It will take me a while to forgive myself for this, and I am disappointed in myself for anyone that I hurt, the victims, my family, and my friends.”
He also stated: “I feel remorse for anyone that could have been affected by this on any scale, public or private. It is a part of my life that I will always regret, as it has never been a reflection of who I am as an individual.”