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TheNutcracker

(2,104 posts)
Sun Oct 5, 2014, 11:23 PM Oct 2014

Harrisburg porn email scandal spreads - Out of Sandusky investigation [View all]

http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20141004/NEWS/sthash.bWNAcBeH.dpuf

By ‚‚The Associated Press
Posted Oct. 4, 2014 @ 2:00 am


HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday called on one of his political appointees to step down because of his role in the scandal over pornography exchanges in the state attorney general’s office.

Corbett’s office asked Randy Feathers to give up his seat on the state Board of Probation and Parole, but received no immediate response from Feathers, said governor’s spokesman Jay Pagni.

Feathers is one of four men who followed Corbett from the attorney general’s office nearly four years ago to new jobs in his administration. Two other top state officials resigned Thursday. Corbett said he decided that the fourth man, state police Commissioner Frank Noonan, did not actively participate in the exchanges.

Corbett could seek to remove Feathers from the board for cause, but it would require the consent of a two-thirds majority of the state Senate, Pagni said. Attempts to reach Feathers, who formerly served as a regional director of the attorney general’s narcotics bureau and has been on the board since October 2012, were unsuccessful Friday night. Board spokeswoman Sherry Tate declined to comment.

Feathers’ annual salary on the board is $115,932.

Corbett’s unusual request came as his office wrapped up two days of reviewing emails that are at the center of the scandal, including more than 400 emails Feathers received and dozens that he sent while working for then-Attorney General Corbett. Heavily redacted copies of emails revealed some dirty jokes and at least one insensitive remark about people of Arab descent.

Last week, Attorney General Kathleen Kane identified eight former office employees who sent or received hundreds of pornographic images or videos in emails that were discovered during her review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse prosecution.

Corbett requested the emails, and Kane’s office delivered the last of them Friday.

The scandal has forced the Republican governor to defend his management of the agency he headed from 2005 to 2011 even as he fights for his political survival one month before the Nov. 4 election.

Corbett is locked in an uphill campaign for re-election against Democratic challenger Tom Wolf. Kane took office last year, after becoming the first Democrat and the first woman to be elected attorney general. All eight men worked under Corbett while he was attorney general. Most of them went to work for Corbett as governor and four still did as of Wednesday.

Corbett requested details from Kane’s office as he weighed whether the four should keep their jobs. He said he was unaware of the pornography exchanges and called such activity “inexcusable.”

The two who resigned Thursday — Environmental Protection Secretary Christopher Abruzzo and Glenn Parno, a top lawyer in the Department of Environmental Protection — did so as Kane’s office delivered the first batch of emails Corbett requested.

Corbett said Noonan did not open, originate, forward or reply to any of the emails.

“The information we have indicates that Noonan was not an active participant in this at all,” Pagni said Friday.

Noonan, who has not commented, is directing the 3-week-old manhunt for Eric Frein, suspected of killing one state trooper and wounding another in an ambush at a state police barracks in Blooming Grove.

Kane’s office has said that a larger number of current and former employees were involved in the exchanges, including about 30 current employees. Kane spokeswoman Renee Martin claimed union contracts and other restrictions prevent the disclosure of information about those employees but said the current employees are being disciplined. Concerns about inappropriate office emails also have been raised in the state’s court system. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille demanded information on whether any judges were involved, warning that such exchanges could create a conflict of interest.

The emails released late Friday afternoon, like the first batch Thursday, are bound in thick volumes. Most of the text has been heavily redacted, but includes sexually suggestive comments about photographs that were originally attached to the emails but not released.
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