Transgender Twitter engineer takes plea deal in rape case involving wife

MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINERDana McCallum exits the San Francisco Hall of Justice on Tuesday after taking a plea deal in a rape case involving her wife.

A Twitter engineer and transgender activist on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors as part of a plea deal in connection with rape charges involving her wife.

Dana McCallum, who was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of rape and served four days in County Jail, pleaded guilty in San Francisco Superior Court to one count of domestic violence and one count of false imprisonment.

As part of the deal, which included dropping the felony rape charge, McCallum will be on probation for three years and must attend substance abuse counseling for 52 weeks.

McCallum would not comment outside the Hall of Justice after her plea, but her wife read a victim’s statement in court.

“We are a long way from being blushing brides in 2007 and a long way from nine months ago,” began the statement. “Both events seem like yesterday. I still love you as much as I did on our wedding day, truth be told. As I remember that day and the awful hours of that night in January, it’s so painful to reconcile these two experiences. It’s so painful to reconcile these two experiences.”

She went on to say, “I want you to know how difficult this was to report. I didn’t think anyone would believe me, as is often the case with rape victims. …I never anticipated that hitting your bottom would hurt me or my family.”

The statement also said McCallum had betrayed the LGBT community, which itself failed to support a victim who only received public support from hate groups.

A restraining order remains in place and divorce proceedings between the two continue.

McCallum's first lawyer said the victim accused McCallum of rape in an attempt to get more money as part of their divorce settlement. McCallum was set to cash in on substantial Twitter stock and the lawyer implied that the victim was motivated by monetary gains. But under California law, assets like stock are to be split equally.

McCallum, 31, who was born a male, openly identifies as a female and her legal name is Dana Contreras. She was charged Jan. 29 with five felonies, including three counts of spousal rape, one count of false imprisonment and one count of domestic violence, according to the District Attorney's Office. McCallum initially pleaded not guilty to those charges.

McCallum is well-known in the tech world and writes for several online publications. Model View Culture, for which she wrote about transgender people and women in tech in January 2013, contains a profile that reads, “Dana McCallum has been working in software engineering and engineering leadership since 2000. As an advocate for women in technology and the LGBT community, Dana helped create advocacy teams at Twitter and other companies, served as a delegate on women's issues in India, and speaks regularly at events focused on women and LGBT people in tech.”

A December story in Business Insider listed McCallum as one of the most important gay people in the tech world.

“Dana McCallum, a senior engineer at Twitter, is one of the geniuses behind Twitter. As a transgender woman, McCallum has previously said that she finds Twitter a great place to work when it comes to being LGBT-friendly,” the publication noted.

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