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North Huntingdon Verizon employee accused of stealing customer’s nude photo

June 6, 2018 GMT

A fired Verizon Wireless employee is set to appear in court this week on accusations he stole a nude photo from a customer’s iPhone while working at the company’s North Huntingdon store.

William G. Hickman Jr., 32, of North Versailles, faces a preliminary hearing Wednesday on criminal charges stemming from the alleged incident. He also has been sued by the victim.

Hickman approached Jessica Lynn Rubright in February when she came to the store to transfer her Sprint account to her mother’s Verizon Wireless account, according to North Huntingdon police officer Justin Wardman.

Rubright told police that Hickman, then a Verizon Wireless “solutions specialist,” said he could transfer the data and save her fees Sprint charged for the service.

Unknown to Rubright, Hickman went through her photos and texted a nude image of her to his phone while he worked on the data transfer in another room.

Rubright said she found out when she went home and received a message on her Apple iCloud account noting that the photo had been sent to a number that turned out to be Hickman’s cellphone.

Wardman said Hickman waived his right to an attorney when asked about the incident and confessed to taking the photo without Rubright’s permission, according to court documents.

Hickman is charged with invasion of privacy and harassment.

Neither Hickman’s lawyer, Ryan James, nor Verizon Wireless representatives returned calls seeking comment.

Last week, Rubright sued Hickman and the Cellco Partnership doing business as Verizon Wireless. Her lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court seeks compensatory and punitive damages. It alleges invasion of privacy and negligence on Verizon’s part.

In her complaint, Rubright said she was stunned to find that Hickman had taken the photo that had never been shared publicly or with anyone other than her partner.

Pittsburgh lawyer Gary Lynch, who represents Rubright, called the incident a cautionary tale.

“Conduct such as Hickman’s is no surprise to Verizon,” he wrote. He noted that similar incidents at Verizon outlets in Florida, Wisconsin and New York have triggered criminal and civil charges.

″(Verizon Wireless) terminated the guy,” Lynch said. “But there are things they could have put in place to stop that.”

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996, derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.