Ashley Madison hack victim David Browne ‘burns down garage’, loses wife and job and could face prison
Life could not been more cruel to Ashley Madison hack attack victim. The victim, David Browne, a district school superintendent living in Randolph, New Jersey, lost his job, his wife, and his mind after allegedly burning down his garage after his details appeared online in a cyber attack on the cheating site Ashley Madison.
Browne, 55, took medical leave from his job from September 8, which was shortly after the hackers leaked lists of the site’s users on August 20. He was later placed on administrative leave from the $167,500-a-year job in October, the same day he is accused of setting fire to his detached garage in upscale Wyckoff, New Jersey.
Local press reported on October 14 that Browne “was found injured and lying on the ground after a fire broke out in the garage”.
“The investigation determined that Browne purposely set the fire with the use of an accelerant inside of the detached garage causing the destruction of the structure,” said John L. Molinelli, Bergen County prosecutor.
He was later charged with arson in connection with the fire. Neither the school district or the board gave comment on Browne’s case to local press.
He later resigned from his $167,500-a-year job as school boss on October 27.
Officials said, “It was in the best interest of both parties to end the employment relationship.”
It appears he was pressured to quit because his online antics were linked to a “work-issued device,” a source said.
In announcing Mr Browne’s departure in October, school-board president Tammy MacKay would only say he was quitting “for the purpose of retirement” and would collect three months of severance pay.
According to the New York Post, Browne had an account on Ashley Madison and told his wife and employers about it after the data breach made international headlines.
Browne’s 45-year-old wife, Monica, filed for divorce citing irreconcileable differences on November 23, which was Monica and David’s 14th wedding anniversary. Monica works as a superintendent in Upper Saddle River.
Browne and Monica have two children, a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old. Monica is seeking custody of the children.
Police, firefighter and education officials were tight-lipped last week, refusing to comment on neighbours’ online statements that Browne superficially slit his wrists before starting the blaze in his historic, circa-1737 home.
Browne previously held a high position as the superintendent over a district with 4,900 students since July 2011. Meanwhile, Robert Landel, divorce lawyer for Monica Browne, pleaded for privacy in the wake of the arson news surrounding Browne.
“I hope everybody understands that this is a family with two young children in a small community — and they deserve their privacy.”
The names of 37 million people using Ashley Madison were leaked online by hackers in August have ruined lives. The website, whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair,” is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.
Multiple suicides were reportedly caused by the data breach, including a Texas police officer whose name was not actually on the site but was posted as having been a user on another website. Also, millions of ex-clients, many of whom said they had accounts but did not actually use the service, have been blackmailed by online thugs threatening to alert spouses, friends and co-workers to adulterous activity.