A veteran doctor faces accusations that he collaborated with a computer specialist to spy on his ex-wife as the couple went though divorce proceedings.
In November 2011, Dr. Steven Curley — then a surgeon and researcher at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for more than two decades — allegedly partnered with a hospital IT analyst to install spyware on a computer used by the doctor's former spouse, an M.D. Anderson physician's assistant, according to prosecutors.
The $99 piece of software, called eBlaster, secretly captures keystrokes typed on a specific device to record emails, passwords, web searches and more. According to the program's website, information is emailed to the installer of the software "within seconds."
The spyware secretly captures keystrokes to record emails, passwords, web searches and more.
Following a lengthy grand jury investigation, Curley and his accomplice, Hank Lehmann, were arrested on felony charges in August and later released on $10,000 bonds.
The 57-year-old doctor — who recently left M.D. Anderson to become chief of surgical oncology at Baylor College of Medicine — has been a leader in his field with countless publications to his name. In addition to his clinical work, he has maintained faculty posts at UT Health Science Center and Rice University, specializing in nanotechnology at both schools.
“He’s very concerned that something like this could have an adverse affect on his career. It’s certainly a distraction from what he does,” Curley's attorney Robert Scardino tells KHOU. “I think when the facts are revealed about the motivations of why this has come to light, he’ll be vindicated.”
A Baylor College of Medicine spokeswoman confirmed that Curley serves as the college's chief of surgical oncology and as a professor of surgery but declined further comment.
Court documents reveal past troubles for Lehmann, who faced several felony charges for theft in the mid-1990s. In addition to his work for M.D. Anderson, the 42-year-old tech specialist also owns and operates an IT consulting firm called Binary Networks, which he launched in 2001, according to a LinkedIn profile.
Curley and Lehmann await a criminal trial scheduled to begin later this month. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.