Pennsylvania officials in porn email scandal named by attorney general

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2014 7:12 PM

By Daniel Kelley

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pennsylvania's attorney general on Thursday identified top state officials who received pornographic emails on government computers, reversing course after a long-running fight with reporters who sought the release of the information.

All of the officials named by Attorney General Kathleen Kane served under Governor Tom Corbett when he was attorney general and his successor, Linda Kelly.

The list includes two current officials in the Republican governor's administration: Frank Noonan, the commander of the Pennsylvania State Police, and E. Christopher Abruzzo, the state's top environmental official.

Citing an internal review, Kane's office had said it would not release the emails, which were passed between officials in the Attorney General's Office between 2008 and 2012. But it apparently reconsidered.

"Attorney General Kane believes it is in the public's best interest to have a good understanding of how its public servants conduct their business,” Kane's communications director, Renee Martin, said in a statement.

The officials sent and received emails containing images of sex acts that were labeled with euphemistic titles such as “Chin Strap,” “Cigar,” and “Golf Ball Washer.”

They also included satirical inspirational posters with titles such as “Devotion” and “Willingness” depicting females performing sex acts on their male bosses, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Kane stopped short of releasing the images themselves. Instead, the office allowed reporters who had made requests under the state's laws on open records to view them.

The emails remain a telling example of how the probe into former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is still roiling state politics.

Kane, the first Democrat to hold the office, won election on the promise that she would investigate whether there was political interference in the Sandusky investigation.

The emails were recovered during that review, which found inexplicable delays in bringing a case, but no evidence of political interference.

Sandusky, convicted in 2012 of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period, is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years.

Corbett, who is up for reelection in November, came in 20 percentage points behind his Democratic challenger, businessman Tom Wolf, in the latest Franklin & Marshall College poll.

Some, but not all, of those identified by Kane had roles in the Sandusky case. 

All told, 30 current employees of the Attorney General's Office received the emails. The office stopped short of identifying all state employees who received the emails, citing union rules and human resources laws. 

 

(Reporting by Daniel Kelley; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech)