CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Neighbors on Long Island were stunned Wednesday over the arrest of a high-profile Republican Party campaign intern, in a disturbing nude photo blackmail scheme.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Adam Savader, 21, was busted in his Great Neck home this week, after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against him in Detroit.READ MORE: NYC Primary: Eric Adams Leads Democratic Mayoral Race In First Round Of Results; Andrew Yang Concedes Early
“It’s not easy for the neighborhood,” one neighbor said.
“I am embarrassed for him, almost,” another said.
“I didn’t know he was up to any of these things,” a third said.
Savader’s Facebook page is loaded with photos of himself, grinning with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, and Ann Coulter.
The tech-savvy political science student from SUNY Farmingdale State College has a presence on multiple social media networks. On his Twitter account, which has more than 17,000 followers, he identifies himself as an “American patriot, Reagan Republican, formerly (Ryan’s) sole intern on the Mitt Romney campaign and a Newt Gingrich campaign staffer.”
But after the charges were filed this week, many in the Great Neck area were appalled by his alleged behavior.
“I don’t think anyone deserves to be exploited in that way,” a woman said.
Savader was charged in a criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Michigan with Internet extortion and cyberstalking. He was accused of attempting to extort nude photos of women, including former high school and college classmates.
The woman targeted lived on Long Island, and in Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C.
“It’s an invasion of privacy,” a woman said.
Authorities said between May 2012 and this past February, Savader sent anonymous text messages using Google Voice numbers to the women, saying he had nude photographs of the women and threatening to distribute them to the women’s friends and family members unless they sent him some more photos.READ MORE: NYC Primary: Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa Is Projected Winner Of Republican Mayoral Primary
One young woman complained to police in Michigan last September, after she received threatening text messages from an unknown person calling himself “John Smith,” the criminal complaint said. One of the text messages sent the woman to the photo-sharing site Photobucket, where she saw naked pictures of herself that she had stored in a private folder and never shared, prosecutors said.
Savader as “John Smith” told the woman he would send the photos to her parents if she did not send him more naked photos, and asked her numerous personal and inappropriate questions, prosecutors said. He made similar threats repeatedly to the woman from multiple Google Voice numbers, prosecutors said.
Another woman also heard from Savader in September, this time as “the person with the nude photos of you,” prosecutors said. He threatened to send nude pictures of her to the Republican National Committee, her parents and her sorority if she did not send more nude photos of herself, prosecutors said.
The young woman said she received more than 80 text messages from Savader, continuing through the end of 2012, prosecutors said.
Savader contacted several other victims and threatened them similarly, prosecutors said. Some had, in fact, taken nude photos that they had not shared with anyone other than their boyfriends, while others had never taken any nude photos of themselves at all, prosecutors said. In one case, Savader tried to blackmail a young woman with a picture of her kissing her younger sister at a high school party when she was 16 – a photo that she never knew about, prosecutors said.
Savader also allegedly made numerous sexually explicit comments to his victims and told them he was masturbating to the pictures of them he had, prosecutors said.
To one victim, he allegedly wrote, “want ur family and everyone to see ur t**s? just agree to email me a pic of u in a bra.”
To another, he allegedly wrote the following message to demand more nude photos: “Do it from ur phoe RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear to god don’t be stupid. U don’t want every1 (sic) including your parents seeing your t**s ass and p***y. Accept it now!! This is what I will send ur mom with the pics unless u accept now “thought u would want to see these pics of your baby girl. They’re very revealing. About to send them to every1 so she is a star.”
Savader’s attorney said the charges are not true.
“I’ve known Adam his entire life, and he has never behaved in a way that would lead me to believe these allegations are true,” the attorney said.
Savader was to be held until his bail hearing Friday, when his lawyer will ask that the suspect be released to travel to federal court in Michigan.
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