Transgender, women’s rights advocate and prominent Twitter engineer charged with rape

courtesy youtube user githubDana McCallum

courtesy youtube user githubDana McCallum

A prominent advocate for transgender and women's rights in the tech world has been charged with raping her wife, The San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Dana McCallum, a senior engineer at Twitter who speaks and writes about women's and transgender-rights and technology issues, was arrested Jan. 26 and booked into County Jail on suspicion of five felonies, according to the Sheriff's Department.

McCallum, 31, who was born a male, openly identifies as a female and whose legal name is Dana Contreras, 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. She has since pleaded not guilty.

McCallum has been out of jail on $350,000 bail. A condition of her release is that she attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, according to court documents.

A Jan. 29 criminal protective order obtained by The Examiner says McCallum must not contact or come within 150 feet of her wife.

Despite the charges, McCallum's attorney, John Runfola, says the case is simply about money.

“I'm just disgusted that, you know, this is going on,” Runfola said. “Dana is an employee [at Twitter] and is about to come into a large amount of money. … This whole thing is about money.”

The couple had been separated, he said, but were still having sexual relations. McCallum served her wife with divorce papers the day before the incident, Runfola said.

The incident in question, according to Runfola, happened in a small condo in the Mission when four teenagers were in the house.

“No one heard 'rape' or fighting or anything,” he said.

There are no witnesses for the prosecution, except one teenager who allegedly heard "no” through a door, Runfola said regarding police files.

According to McCallum's profile on the online publication Model View Culture, for which she wrote about transgender people and women in tech in January 2013, “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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