Chichester teen sentenced for posting sexual photos of ex-girlfriends online

  • David Browall, 19, of Chichester Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/11/2018 7:27:08 PM

In only the second case of its kind in Merrimack County, a judge has sentenced a Chichester teenager to two years in jail for uploading sexually explicit images of two ex-girlfriends to the internet without their consent.

David Browall, 19, told police he shared private images of one of the girls “as payback” after she applied for a restraining order against him in mid-2017. Browall admitted to separately uploading nude photos of each of the two girls, whom he knew from Pembroke Academy, on at least three occasions between January and August of that year. The girls, then 16, were named in the posts.

The girls, who dated Browall months apart, said they had shared intimate photos with Browall during the course of their relationships. They thought he understood that whatever they sent was private and  meant to be kept between boyfriend and girlfriend.

“My body was exploited and that is nobody’s right to do but my own,” one of the girls, now 18, said Monday in court. “There is possibility of loss of careers and positions and things that I could have dreamt of doing that I will never be able to do, because when you look up my name, you now see things from when I was a 16-year-old child.”

Despite the harm she suffered, the girl told Judge Richard McNamara that she was not advocating for a harsh sentence for Browall.

Rather, she said, “I want to see him get help.”

While the case against Browall is somewhat novel in Merrimack County, his attorney Hanna Kinne said instances of teenagers sharing nude photos happens “frequently and regularly” at all high schools. She said that fact does not excuse Browall’s actions and exclude him from punishment; however, she said a prison sentence for a 19-year-old with no criminal record is too severe.

“When David did this, he was a juvenile. He was not thinking clearly. It was a mistake,” Kinne said.

Browall pleaded guilty Monday to five felony counts of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images as part of a deal reached with the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office. While the defense asked for eight months to serve in jail, county prosecutors recommended a state prison sentence of two to four years.

The Class B felony charge is punishable by a maximum of 3½ to seven years in prison. But Assistant County Attorney Meghan Hagaman said she was not asking for the maximum penalties on each charge or even on one of the charges, in light of Browall’s age and lack of criminal history.

“However, the significance of what this conduct entails, I think, is why the Legislature has highlighted the fact that violation of someone’s privacy, someone’s intimate images of this nature, does and should warrant significant punishment,” Hagaman said.

She continued: “Crimes of this nature could have ripple effects. When someone posts images on the internet, it’s then out in cyberspace. The ability to retract that is really not likely.”

After hearing arguments from both sides, McNamara took several minutes in chambers to finalize his order. When he returned to the bench, he told the court, “This is a very difficult case to sentence.”

McNamara said he weighed the factors in the case working in Browall’s favor as well as those supporting a stiffer punishment.

“Maybe the biggest aggravating factor is that this was purposeful. It wasn’t like someone got in a car, had too much to drink and makes a terrible accident,” McNamara said, addressing Browall. “You intended to cause harm; it was payback. You caused real and profound harm to some very brave and strong young women – one of whom was so brave and so strong that she had the grace to say that she hopes you get the help you need.”

While McNamara spoke about the importance of deterring people from committing similar crimes, he also spoke about the unique factors of the case at hand to include Browall’s young age and lack of criminal history. All considered, he told Browall, “I think you’re too young to go to the state prison.”

Instead of imposing prosecutors’ recommendation of a two- to four-year prison sentence, McNamara ordered Browall to serve two years at the Merrimack County jail in Boscawen. Following his release, Browall will be on probation for two years and have a two- to six-year suspended state prison sentence hanging over him for 10 years.

The court revoked Browall’s bail in February after he repeatedly tested positive for THC and failed to comply with the terms of the county’s pretrial services program while on bail. He will receive 119 days credit for time already served.

Prosecutors dismissed two additional counts of possession of child sexual abuse images as part of the plea deal.

Browall is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Concord’s District Court for a bench trial in an unrelated domestic violence case.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)

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