Sheila Bynum-Coleman, who was defeated in last year’s state elections by then-Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, has been indicted in Henrico County on two misdemeanor counts accusing her of disseminating nude photos of a woman at her workplace.
The prosecutor handling the case characterized it as “revenge porn.” Bynum-Coleman, reached by phone on Thursday, took issue with that characterization of the case and then said she did not want to comment.
A Henrico Circuit Court grand jury returned the indictments Monday for two offenses that authorities said occurred on Dec. 31 and sometime between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, according to the indictments. Bynum-Coleman was arrested Wednesday.
The language of the law under which Bynum-Coleman was charged makes it unlawful to disseminate photos or video of another with the intent to coerce, harass or intimidate someone in a state of undress or totally nude.
Bynum-Coleman, a Democrat who founded J.C. Bynum Construction LLC, obtained nude photos of the victim and took them to the woman’s place of employment, where she showed them to the woman’s supervisor, said special prosecutor Robert Cerullo, who was appointed to handle the case.
Cerullo, who serves as Powhatan County’s deputy commonwealth’s attorney, said Bynum-Coleman informed the victim’s boss that the woman had taken the nude photos while at work and on company time. The prosecutor said it was unclear how Bynum-Coleman obtained them.
After leaving, Bynum-Coleman allegedly posted copies of the nude photos to a stop sign outside the victim’s place of employment, Cerullo said.
The prosecutor said the motive was unclear and he declined to name the business.
Bynum-Coleman, 47, lives in Chesterfield County and is the mother of five children.
She is a single-family residential contractor, and maintains several small businesses in and around the community. Due to her career experience, she was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the state’s Board for Contractors in 2016.
A trial date has been set for May 28.