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Three ousted in hunt for porn, lewd e-mail on state computers

August 29, 2001

— Human services officials have fired two workers and forced the resignation of a third in an investigation of employees who have used state computers to view pornography and send lewd e-mail messages.

Fired yesterday was Kelley A. Rogers, 39, a $22.07-an-hour management analyst supervisor in the Department of Job & Family Services' Office of Internal Administration. On Monday, the department fired Leslie K. Prudhomme, 45, a temporary employee who worked under Rogers, and accepted the resignation of Daniel M. Granatir, 34, an unemployment claims examiner.

State records show that e-mail Rogers and Prudhomme forwarded ranged from mildly raunchy chain letters and jokes to vulgar cartoons. Both women were accused of immoral conduct, using the state Internet system for unauthorized activities and unauthorized use of state equipment.

Records show that Granatir used his state computer to view hard-core pornography online, including sites promoting "celebrity sleaze" and special "PornTrack" software. He was accused of the same violations as Rogers and Prudhomme. He resigned the day he was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing.

Rogers and Granatir could not be reached for comment, but Prudhomme said her firing and Rogers' were unjustified.

"I'll be honest with you, I think it was very unfair," she said. "There was no Internet usage at all. It was just personal e-mails, back and forth. It wasn't work-related and it was inappropriate, I'm sure, but 90 percent of them were sent from other state employees. I was just a very easy target, and I'm sure we're being used as examples."

Copies of some of the e-mail messages bear her out. They show they were sent by employees at the state auditor's office, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Administrative Services. Job & Family Services spokesman Jon Allen said his department's findings would be referred to each agency.

Last week, employees from the chief inspector's office seized seven computers from the office in which Rogers and Prudhomme worked.

On July 27, Chief Inspector Ken Marshall warned employees in the agency's internal newsletter that violators of the telecommunications policy would be disciplined.

"Recently, it has come to this office's attention that a number of individuals have been forwarding chain letters, jokes, pictures and other non-ODJFS-related material via e-mail . . . ," Marshall wrote. The memo also warned that employees in county Job & Family Services offices, who are part of the state network, might face discipline for violating county Internet abuse policies.

Marshall also is investigating allegations that an unspecified number of computers may be missing from the agency's main telecommunications warehouse in Columbus.

Agency officials conducted an inventory of the warehouse Aug. 9, but they are unsure what, if anything, is missing, Allen said.

Marshall began the investigation at the request of Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles.

by Ted Wendling, Plain Dealer Bureau. Copyright © 2001


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