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Hearing held for man who cyber-hacked Carly Rae Jepsen
The former boyfriend of Carly Rae Jepsen said he and the pop superstar lived in fear when they discovered that someone had hacked her email and social media accounts and gained access to materials that included two "highly personal" photos.
"It was scary. It was really scary," said Jordi Ashworth of the incidents that occurred in early 2012.
Ashworth (in photo at left) was present at Abbotsford provincial court on Friday, when the sentencing hearing was held for Christopher David Long, 25.
Long pleaded guilty in May of this year to possession of stolen property and mischief to data.
At Friday's hearing, Crown counsel Rob Macgowan recommended Long serve a four-month conditional sentence (house arrest) followed by one year probation.
Defence lawyer Martin Finch asked Judge Jill Rounthwaite to consider a conditional discharge.
Rounthwaite has reserved her decision until Friday, Sept. 13.
At the time of the offences, Jepsen and Ashworth were living together in Vancouver.
Ashworth, who often monitored Jepsen's social media and email accounts at her request, discovered that some of the passwords had been changed in early March 2012.
Vulgar postings were made on Jepsen's Facebook and Instagram accounts.
On March 22, Jepsen, who was on tour, discovered she could no longer make or receive calls on her cellphone, and she received a series of calls from a blocked number.
The worried couple reported the issues to the Vancouver Police Department, which launched a four-month investigation.
This included Ashworth communicating via email with the then-unknown hacker.
In one exchange, the hacker wrote, "Stop trying to take this account back. I am extremely capable of doing many things so leave it at that."
Police were able to trace the sender's IP address to Long's residence in Abbotsford. He then confessed to police.
It was determined that Long registered an email account that had previously been used by Jepsen but was inactive.
He then used that account to gain access to her current email and password, which led to him accessing the passwords to her social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Long downloaded material from Jepsen's email account that included her recording contract, tour schedule, two song recordings and several photos, including two between her and Ashworth that were of a "sensitive and highly personal nature," according to Macgowan.
Long, using a newly created email account and an alias, then sent the two photos to TMZ – a celebrity gossip website and television series – suggesting possibly selling them.
He also contacted a phone company to have Jepsen's cellphone number changed.
Macgowan said Jepsen and Ashworth lived in fear because they did not know whether the hacker intended to harm them or to damage Jepsen's career.
"(The) sense of violation and invasion of privacy … cannot be understated," Macgowan said.
Finch acknowledged that this client exercised poor judgment in his actions, and said they arose "out of stupid high jinks among friends."
A big-screen TV with a computer attached is located in Long's residence, and the initial hacking was done with friends present, Finch said.
He said Long, a sales manager at a car dealership, got caught up in the "prank" and the fascination of dealing with a celebrity.
He referenced letters of support from family and colleagues who described Long as "dependable with positive leadership skills," someone with a "high degree of integrity and ambition," and "extremely intelligent and willing to help others."
In a statement in the court, Long addressed Ashworth.
"I would like to apologize in the most profound way I can express for any harm and embarrassment I may have caused you and Ms. Jepsen," he said.
Jepsen, originally from Mission, is a former Canadian Idol finalist who was propelled to international stardom with her hit song Call Me Maybe.