Roanoke Peacemakers president charged with harassment

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Update 10-23-17

Roanoke City Police are continuing their investigation into a community leader who texted a lewd photo to a local reporter.

Recent search warrants reveal that as part of the investigation into Shawn Hunter, president of the Peacemakers, Roanoke City Police searched Hunter's electronics including two phones, a laptop and a tablet.

According to search warrants, police retrieved data from one of his phones and his tablet.

Hunter is due in court in November. He has maintained that he sent the inappropriate photo on accident.

UPDATE:

Roanoke Times reporter Amy Friedenberger has confirmed that she is the reporter who received an inappropriate picture from Peacemakers Inc. leader Shawn Hunter.

Friedenberger posted a statement on Twitter Thursday evening, saying in part "Last week Shawn Hunter sent to my phone an image of his genitalia. It was upsetting and shocking, and I felt violated."

Friedenberger also said she is aware that Hunter plans to fight the charge, and said she will face him in court.


In a now-deleted Facebook post, Hunter maintained that the photo was sent unintentionally.

He has been charged with harassment by computer.

According to his arrest warrant, Hunter is due in court on November 15.

ORIGINAL STORY:


A man who's been gaining notoriety as an advocate for peace in Roanoke is now accused of harassing a local reporter with an inappropriate picture. He says it's a big misunderstanding.

According to an arrest warrant, Roanoke City Police arrested Shawn Hunter, the president of the Peacemakers organization on Wednesday.

Shawn Hunter took to Facebook Wednesday, detailing his arrest on the Peacemakers’ Facebook page. The organization, led by Hunter, is dedicated to reducing violence in the community.

Hunter wrote an extensive post explaining what he claims happened.
Hunter wrote in the post that on October 4 while at home he was sharing "intimate photos" with a "lady friend" over text.

Then he said "technology glitched" on him and his phone froze up.

“I was hitting buttons trying to unfreeze it so the picture I was sending to my lady friend was inadvertently sent to another person a female who works in the media,” Hunter wrote in the Facebook post.

While Hunter denied an interview with WDBJ7 on Thursday, he did tell us over the phone he immediately called and texted the recipient, apologizing, saying it was an accident.

Hunter said he never heard back from her.

But then on Wednesday, Hunter was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of harassment by computer. He said he learned the recipient issued a protective order against him.

Hunter told us over the phone that he was surprised by this and claims he never had inappropriate contact with this person before.

Police have taken Hunter's phone.

He says he will fight the charge and made the post to maintain there was no crime.

“I just want all of you that follow the Peacemakers and believe in what we do to know that I will stand on the TRUTH I have nothing to hide and there was NO! criminal intent,” Hunter wrote.

Hunter's post has since been deleted. When asked he said he did not take it down, but that it might have been another page administrator.

According to his arrest warrant, Hunter is due in court on November 15.

Hunter said in the post and over the phone, he will temporarily step down from the Peacemakers until the issue is adjudicated.

He intends to fight the charge and said that if anything in court reveals he has told a lie in this situation, then he will resign and leave Roanoke.