Charge: Woman hacked Playboy playmate's e-mail, stole nude pics of MLB star

  • Article by: JOY POWELL
  • Star Tribune
  • November 10, 2010 - 12:31 PM

An Apple Valley woman was charged on Tuesday with breaking into a model's e-mail account and stealing racy photos of Cleveland Indians baseball player Grady Sizemore, which were widely posted on the Internet last year.

Sizemore had sent the photos, which he took with his cell phone, to his girlfriend, Brittany Binger, who was Playboy's playmate of the month in June 2007.

Leah M. Ayers, 19, has been charged by the city of Apple Valley with two counts of unauthorized computer access, a gross misdemeanor. She could not be reached for comment.

Sizemore's revealing photos appeared on the Internet about a year ago, leading to national stories about the cyber theft.

Somebody had accessed Binger's e-mail account four times in August 2009 to steal the photos, court papers say.

A complaint filed in Dakota County District Court says Ayers' laptop was used to view Binger's Facebook, Twitter and MySpace accounts, and that personal information on those sites could have been used to change Binger's password and access her account in August 2009.

Binger told police that she does not know Ayers and that the photos could only have come from Binger's e-mail account or the cell phone that was used to send them to her.

Sizemore, 28, lives in Cleveland and is a center fielder for the Indians.

The 15-photo set includes some showing him fully clothed but also others that show him nude, or partially nude, including as he stands in front of a bathroom mirror, using his cell phone to photograph himself. He's alone in all of the photos.

In one photo, he's naked and holding a large coffee mug in front of his genitalia. In another, he's holding a Playboy picture of Binger.

According to the complaint and search warrant documents in Dakota County District Court:

Binger contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which used a series of search warrants of and Frontier Communications records and postings to trace the hacker's Internet protocol address. It was held by Ayers' parents, who live in Apple Valley. Their home was searched in April.

Two days later, Apple Valley Police Detective Sean McKnight contacted Leah Ayers for an interview and asked that she bring her personal laptop with her.

Ayers said her laptop was at the student help desk at St. Cloud State University for repairs to the fan. Police learned that she turned in her laptop two days later than she claimed, and that she had wanted the hard drive reformatted and other work performed, but no fan repair was done.

A forensic analysis found that Ayers' laptop had been used to access Binger's account and that it contained some of the Sizemore photos.

Ayers is summoned to appear in court on Nov. 29.

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017

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