DEP Chief Resigns Over Porn Email Scandal

Oct 2, 2014 3:00 PM PST

HARRISBURG, Penn. — State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo resigned today after it was revealed that he was among several state officials who sent and/or received pornographic emails through taxpayer-financed computers, Philly.com reported.

In a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett, Abruzzo said he has not been able to review the explicit messages he allegedly sent or received, but that he accepted responsibility for "any lack of judgment." He added, "It is my concern that these assertions have become a distraction from the great record of this administration."

Corbett responded succinctly in a statement with, "Abruzzo made his decision based on the best interest of the important mission of the Department of Environmental Protection."

Abruzzo was among at least eight prominent state officials, including the head of the state police, who sent or received hundreds of sexually explicit photos, videos and messages from state email accounts between 2008 and 2012, according to documents made available last week by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Those involved with the case suspect that the scandal extends to as many as 30-50 other past and current employees.

In response to the news, pro-governmental transparency activists Gene Stilp and Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital have actually set up a P.O. box for whistleblowers to report abuse of state computers, including using them to watch porn or send jokes or personal messages.

A similar scandal made national headlines in May, when it came to light that an Environmental Protection Agency employee had downloaded more than 7,000 pieces of pornographic materials since 2010. That employee, according to EPA Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Allan Williams, spent two to six hours a day surfing porn at work.

The EPA reported that it took steps to prevent such a recurrence, and a bill has been submitted to Congress to punish Federal employees for such behavior.

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