8 named in Pennsylvania porn office emails case

AP News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2014 7:41 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Eight former employees of the state attorney general's office sent or received inter-office emails containing pornography, including one man who sent more than three dozen and received more than 400, officials said Thursday.

Among the ex-employees identified by Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office are two top state officials: Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Environmental Protection Secretary Christopher Abruzzo.

Kane's office disclosed the eight men's identities on Thursday, but her office could not say whether the men opened the emails they received.

A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett, the Republican former attorney general who employed all of the men named, said the porn images described by media outlets are inappropriate and should not be tolerated in the workplace.

"His expectation of those that work for him is that they conduct themselves in the highest professional manner," spokesman Jay Pagni said.

Corbett was unaware of the emails at the time, Pagni said. Asked whether Corbett would ask for the resignation of Noonan or Abruzzo, Pagni would only say that "the news accounts raise questions that need to be reviewed further."

Kane is a Democrat who took office last year. The men were hired by Republican administrations before her.

Hundreds of pornographic inter-office emails, which were and still are against office policy, were discovered during Kane's review of the sex abuse prosecution of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, her office said. A spokeswoman could not immediately say Thursday whether the office found more current or former employees who sent or received such emails.

Noonan received 338 pornographic emails and sent none, and Abruzzo received 46 and sent eight, Kane's office said. Noonan was the office's chief of criminal investigations, and Abruzzo formerly supervised the attorney general's drug strike force section.

Representatives for Noonan and Abruzzo did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The man who sent more than three dozen porn emails and received 436 was identified as Randy Feathers, a former agent Corbett appointed to the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. He didn't respond to requests for comment.

In a statement defending Kane's decision to release the names, her office said that she believes it is in the public's best interest to understand how its public servants conduct business.

"She also believes transparency on this issue is a very good way to help ensure that the exchanging of sexually explicit material through internal emails on state-owned equipment during official work hours doesn't happen elsewhere," it said.