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Christopher Chaney, so-called Hollywood hacker, gets 10 years for posting celebrities' personal photos online

Christopher Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Fla., leaves federal court in Los Angeles Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Christopher Chaney
Christopher Chaney leaves federal court in Los Angeles on Nov. 1, 2011
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - A hacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday for allegedly breaking into the personal online accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and other women and posting revealing photos and other material he found on the Internet.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero sentenced 35-year-old Christopher Chaney after hearing from a tearful Johansson in a videotaped statement. The case included the revelation that nude photos taken by Johansson of herself and meant for her then-husband Ryan Reynolds were leaked online.

"I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed," Johansson said. "I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible."

Prosecutors said Chaney also targeted two women he knew, sending nude pictures of one former co-worker to her father. The judge noted the damage to the women was in some ways worse than what Chaney's celebrity victims endured.

The women, identified in court filings only by initials, wrote in letters to Otero that their lives were irreparably damaged by Chaney's actions. One has anxiety and panic attacks; the other is depressed and paranoid. Both said Chaney was calculated, cruel and creepy.

"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."

Prosecutors sought six years imprisonment, but Otero said he was concerned that Chaney would not be able to control his behavior and had shown a "callous disregard" for his actions.

Chaney, who could have faced a maximum sentence of 60 years under the law, apologized in court but denied that he had sent naked photos of women he knew to their relatives.

"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."

Chaney previously pleaded guilty to counts that included wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer.

Actress and singer Renee Olstead said in court Monday that she attempted to kill herself after Chaney leaked nude photos of her. She said she had never before considered suicide.

"I just really hope this doesn't happen to someone else," she said, crying. "You can lose everything because of the actions of a stranger."

Chaney will be placed on three years of supervised probation when he is released and will have to notify officials of his online accounts. But the judge feared that wouldn't be enough and said he wished he could sentence Chaney to lifetime supervision.

Prosecutors said Chaney illegally accessed the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry between November 2010 and October 2011. Aguilera, Mila Kunis and Johansson agreed to have their identities made public with the hope the move would provide awareness about online intrusion.

"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," Aguilera said.

Chaney was arrested in October 2011 as part of a yearlong investigation of celebrity hacking that authorities dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi." Chaney's computer hard drive contained numerous private celebrity photos and a document that compiled their extensive personal data, according to a search warrant.

He continued to pursue his victims after the FBI seized his computer, a factor Otero said warranted a harsher penalty.

Complete coverage of Operation Hackerazzi on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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