NYPD Officer Accused Of Stealing Naked Photos Off Woman's iPhone

Since 9/11, there has been an intense debate in this country over where to draw the line between privacy and security. But according to a 27-year-old woman, New York police officer Sean Christian, who works for the the 104th Precinct of the New York Police Department in Ridgewood, Queens, clearly stepped over the line into invasion of privacy. Pamela Held, right, alleges that the 41-year-old officer took her iPhone after he arrested her, then "stole" her private nude photos and videos that she'd made for her boyfriend, according to New York's Daily News.

"It makes me sick," Held told the Daily News, adding she plans to sue the NYPD for invasion of privacy. Its Internal Affairs department reportedly confirmed that it was investigating her complaint.

Held's problems with the NYPD began on Feb. 6 when five officers in a police van pulled over her car because it didn't have an inspection sticker, according to the newspaper. Prescription drugs and marijuana were found in the car, so Held and the friend she was riding with, who was unnamed in reports, were taken into the precinct for questioning. Interrogated by police as to her whereabouts that evening, Held says that she told them that she was visiting a friend and could prove it -- then handed her phone over to officers.

Held says that she realized something was wrong when she noticed later that 20 of her personal photos as well as five videos were sent to an unknown phone number. After consulting with an attorney, his private investigator was assigned to find the owner of the mystery phone number, which led to Christian.

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In speaking to the New York tabloid, Held said that she's mostly concerned about what's been done with her private images. "Who knows what he's capable of?"

According to Held, the officers kept the phone for three hours, which is when she thinks her private images were lifted. "I knew they had my phone and I was bugging out," she told the Daily News.

In speaking to the newspaper, Christian denied taking the images, and even said that he doesn't work at the police precinct where Held had been interrogated. He also claimed that he's never met Held, and added that the unknown phone number that her images were sent to belongs to a phone owned by his brother.

A 50-minute call placed by Held to Christian, with NYPD's Internal Affairs investigators listening in, revealed that Christian was "quite familiar with Held," in the words of the Daily News.

But whatever did happen that night with Held's phone, the issue for legal commentator Jonathan Turley is the insight that the incident might provide into police overreach. "Why would a team of five officers be patrolling for sticker violations?" he asked on his blog, JonathanTurley.org. "They weren't," he went on.

Instead, he questioned the very legitimacy of the police search of her car. And he pointed to Supreme Court rulings such as Whren vs. United States from 1996, which said any traffic violation was a legitimate legal basis for a stop. Such a ruling, he wrote, has left "all citizens subject to these stops and searches as part of an increasing array of expanded and potentially arbitrary police powers."

Both Held and her friend have since seen the criminal cases against them over the drug possession charges adjourned.

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I see a new profession waiting for this "lady." The guards who do the body searches at the Air Ports are already studying the videos and pictures for new techniques. Thanks!!!

July 26 2013 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You should always have a password on your phone, too.

July 26 2013 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Any man that wouldnt have looked and at least thought about keeping them is a liar or gay. She willingly handed over her phone and password and said look. Can't you people read?

July 26 2013 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GARY's comment

if you are taken into custody your property is confiscated as well. that's routine. as for who is lying or gay is a strange comment.

July 27 2013 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well....I'd never "blame the victim" but, I would also recommend NEVER allowing nude photos/videos to be taken even for a spouse.......eventually, they could come back to haunt you.

That being said....I think the cop should every single one of his electronic devices wiped.....you know, before firing him and putting a mark on his record so he can never again be trusted with any "authority-type" position!!!

July 26 2013 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tommy Daly

Pathetic and stupid, but strange all around. All he had to do was DL them to a PC and upload them to his phone's memory card, no trace. What I find strange is this young woman who is understandibly mortified, then posts one of the photos in question of herself nude, but lightly covered. Why would she give the world a good idea what the photos look like unless she wanted the "exposure"? Interestng they dropped all drug charges too..

July 26 2013 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the world we live in, so the only thing a person can do is protect themselves and not have personal photos on our phones. I agree we should be able to trust police not to look at our personal photos, they have no right, they did that as curious men, instead of professional police officiers, these men are the reason why so many people disrespect officiers. Its a shame, I have the highest respect for police officiers that are willing to put their life on the line for strangers, and are WAY UNDER PAID, but its the other ones that ruin for the good ones. This girl should be held accountable for the drugs, but the officier that stole the pics should be held accountable for his crime also.

July 26 2013 at 9:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Sue now, in case Weiner becomes Mayor. Then you'd likely lose.

July 26 2013 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Regardless of the pictures she took on HER phone, the police had no right to take and search her phone. This Government we have now thinks that they can do whatever they want and that the laws governing this nation do not apply to them. That's a really big issue right there.... This nation was built with checks and balances to prevent stuff like this from happening, but something in this Government has failed, miserably. This was a simple traffic stop in which the police found a small amount of cannabis only, no guns, bombs, or anything terrorist related, so why would this cop do this?!?!? Nothing will come of this though because she willingly handed her phone over like a moron.... Gotta love how the educational system in this country teaches students the laws that govern them.......... O wait, they don't... they don't teach anything useful. I wonder if that when she gets to court, if her porn videos and pics will be considered evidence??? Technology and ignorance is a deadly combination, especially now more than ever. 10 years ago, she would have had to use a normal camera to take the pics and then get them developed... They wouldn't have been on her phone and then there would be no story for us to read....

July 26 2013 at 9:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to trippedsoul17's comment

tripped, she gave the phone to them on her own.

July 26 2013 at 9:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Welcome to the New America.

July 26 2013 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

common sense would dctate ,maybe not all the time that having nude photos of your self on your cell-phone was not good. you put them there for a purpose and that purpose served two reasons,first if you were pulled over for a ticket you could show the officer and he/she would have a soft heart and let you go,then when was all said and done you would show what you did to get out of that ticket. you should have used common sense with the ability of some smart phones your nude photos are probably on some ones porn or that was your intent as well as givineg them to your boy friend,and if he's seen you nude,then he doesn't have a good imagination,yes you should file a lawsuit,but it was you that offered the phone first. you and the cop were wrong,next time have your boyfriend take the photos or not at all.

July 26 2013 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dlpeeks's comment

Were the pictures encrypted? I think she gave the phone to the cops as a scheme to become famous or get some money. What fool, on her own, gives her phone to the cops over a vehicle sticker?

July 26 2013 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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