Cambridge Mayor Andrew Bradshaw has been charged with 50 counts of distributing revenge porn, the state prosecutor’s office said in a news release.
Bradshaw is charged with posting nude photographs of a former romantic partner to various forums on Reddit without her knowledge or consent and with the intent to harm her, according to the release.
The criminal information filed Monday in Dorchester County Circuit Court alleges Bradshaw made multiple Reddit accounts with public usernames that consisted of permutations of the name and birthdate of the woman, and then posted the photos, “captioned with racial slurs and sexually explicit language, on those ‘Reddit’ accounts and various ‘subreddit’ forums that were related to sexual activity, humiliation, degradation, race, and other topics,” according to the press release.
“Using someone’s private images without their consent is a serious breach of trust and invasion of privacy, and the power and breadth of the internet makes such a violation even more egregious,” State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III said in the news release. “Our office is committed to protecting victims from those who abuse their positions of power and trust.”
Maryland’s Revenge Porn Statute, Maryland Criminal Law Article § 3-809, prohibits the nonconsensual distribution of a private visual representation of another which exposes their intimate body parts or displays them engaged in sexual activity, with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the person depicted. If convicted, Mr. Bradshaw would face a maximum penalty of two years’ incarceration and a $5,000 fine for each count.
According to charging papers:
• The woman contacted police in mid-May to say she had learned nude photos of her had been posted on Reddit. She told police that the photos were posted without her knowledge or consent and had only been sent to Bradshaw.
• She said the photos were sent when she and Bradshaw were in an intimate relationship, she did not give him consent to re-distribute the photos, and she is no longer romantically involved with Bradshaw.
• The accounts used to post the photos were from an IP address that provided internet service to Bradshaw’s Cambridge home.
• The photos were posted to subreddits named RacePlay, “with racial slurs in several of the posting titles,” and HumiliatingComments, among others.
Charging papers allege that nine posts were made to the RacePlay subreddit and there were racial slurs in seven of the titles or captions.
Bradshaw’s home and the mayor’s office at city hall were searched by police on Aug. 4.
City officials, in a notice posted on the city’s website, said: “The City is aware of the matter involving the Mayor. The City is currently gathering information and will cooperate fully with the Maryland State Police and the Office of the State Prosecutor.
“As the City has a Council-Manager form of municipal government whereby the City Manager serves as the chief executive officer of the City and the head of its administrative branch, the business of the City is unaffected.
“As this is an active legal matter, no further comments will be made at this time.”
City commissioners were scheduled to meet Monday night for a work session to discuss the composition of the board of the Cambridge Waterfront Development Inc. but that meeting was cancelled Monday afternoon.
The commissioners are now scheduled to meet Tuesday night in a closed session.
Maryland State Police and the Easton Police Department assisted the Office of the State Prosecutor with the investigation.