Porn-Watching EPA Employees Earning $120,000 A Year Put on Paid Administrative Leave

By Ali Meyer | April 30, 2015 | 3:48 PM EDT

 

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(CNSNews.com) - An inspector general (IG) investigation found that employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earning $120,000 a year were watching pornography on the job and were put on paid administrative leave for almost a year before anybody tried to fire them.

“Over the past two years, the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has conducted investigations of multiple cases of serious misconduct carried out by EPA employees,” explained the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a hearing on EPA mismanagement Thursday.

“EPA OIG investigated three instances of EPA employees who were found to be viewing pornography while at work. The U.S. attorney’s office declined prosecution for two cases while the third resulted in a criminal conviction. One of these employees is still on paid administrative leave pending administrative action by the EPA while another has retired.”

“There are continued problems with EPA employees who watch pornography at work,” said Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in his opening remarks. “Even more insulting to taxpayers is that after the inspector general reported these abuses, the porn-watching employees were placed on paid administrative leave for almost a year before anybody even tried to fire them. Now these people were being paid roughly, in the neighborhood of about $120,000 a year.

“If you’re sitting there, watching hours of porn on your government computer - fire them,” Chaffetz said.

“The EPA OIG hotline received a complaint on September 11, 2013, alleging that an EPA geologist in the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) had downloaded more than 7,000 files (1.3 gigabytes) of potentially pornographic files onto an EPA server,” explained Patrick Sullivan, assistant inspector general for investigations.

“The employee admitted that— for approximately 2 to 6 hours during his assigned work hours daily, over a period of ‘several years’—he had viewed and downloaded pornographic images on EPA computer equipment,” explained Sullivan.

“The employee stated that much of his workday was devoted to organizing the downloaded pornography into saved folders. During the course of the OIG’s investigation, the employee also stated that he had received several performance awards, which included monetary awards ranging from $600 to $2,000 and a time-off award of 16 hours,” he added.

In addition to these porn-watching employees within the EPA, another employee was a serial sexual assaulter and was even promoted.

“Today we will discuss more problems concerning EPA employees, including the outrageous behavior of now retired EPA employee Peter Jutro,” said Chaffetz. “Mr. Jutro was the acting associate administrator for the EPA Office of Homeland Security, he also happens to be a serial sexual harasser.

“As a result of an inspector general investigation, we now know that Mr. Jutro sexually harassed at least 16 women while working at the EPA,” explained Chaffetz. “Even worse, EPA senior management was aware of his history of harassing women but continued to promote him. EPA management never even took the time to talk to his direct supervisor who had verbally warned Mr. Jutro several times about his unacceptable behavior. In essence, there was no consequence for this abhorrent behavior.

“By turning a blind eye, EPA management allowed at least six more women to be harassed by Mr. Jutro, and we know this because of the good work by the men and women who serve in the inspector goffice,” Chaffetz added. “When Mr. Jutro was finally put on paid leave, he quickly retired with full pension benefits to avoid being interviewed by the IG about these allegations.”

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