A police officer already accused of hacking into the social media accounts of a woman and posting naked pictures she’d taken of herself was charged this week with victimising over a dozen other women in a similar way, authorities said.
The investigation started in September after the woman, an Evesham resident, contacted the Evesham Township Police Department and reported that her Snapchat and Facebook accounts had been accessed by an unknown person, according to a joint statement from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Evesham Township Police. The intruder had sent nude photos she had taken of herself to her Snapchat contacts, messaged them to her Facebook friends, and posted them on her Facebook wall.
A rookie officer with the Mount Laurel Police Department, Ayron Taylor, 22, of Delran, was allegedly responsible and he was arrested on Oct 21 and charged with three counts of computer crime, invasion of privacy and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, the office said.
Taylor was taken to the Burlington County Jail, but released after an initial appearance in Superior Court of Burlington County.
However, as the investigation continued, 18 more victims, all of whom were women, were found to be allegedly victimised by Taylor, police said. He also was accused of accessing the social media and email accounts of the women and in several instances distributing their nude photos to people on their contact lists.
Detectives determined the commonality among all victims was that each one had a student email account through Rowan College of Burlington County (RCBC) and that he illegally accessed more than 2,800 RCBC email accounts, investigators said. Some of this activity allegedly occurred while he was on duty and sitting in his patrol car, utilising personal electronic devices, police said.
Taylor was arrested on Wednesday and was slapped with 87 new charges before he was released Friday afternoon following another superior court appearance, the office said.
The complaints allege 28 counts of second-degree crimes that include computer criminal activity and distribution of child pornography, which was brought against him because some of the photos he accessed were taken before the women became legal adults, authorities said. The remaining 59 counts are third degree charges including elements of computer theft and other cyber-related crimes.
Taylor became a full-time officer in Mount Laurel after graduating from the police academy in October 2021. The department suspended him following the initial charges and began measures to terminate his employment. He has since resigned from the force.
RCBC officials have been cooperative with law enforcement throughout the investigation, police said.
University President Dr. Michael A. Cioce called Taylor’s alleged actions “repugnant” and said the school has reviewed and strengthened its cyber security measures.
“This is a repugnant cyber intrusion of privacy against the college and, especially, many of our students. Rowan College at Burlington County immediately strengthened network security upon the first report of the incident,” Cioce said in a statement.
“Although there was no systemic failure of the college’s technology infrastructure, there is always opportunity for stronger security measures. The college’s Office of Student Support can provide assistance to victims who are impacted.” – nj.com/Tribune News Service