Pennsylvania

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DEP Secretary Abruzzo implicated in sexually explicit email exchange

Chris Abruzzo is the secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection.

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

Chris Abruzzo is the secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Chris Abruzzo is one of eight prominent state employees who “sent or received hundreds of sexually explicit photos, videos and messages from state email accounts between 2008 and 2012.” A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office confirmed to WITF that Abruzzo sent eight of the emails, and received 46.

Prior to being appointed as Pennsylvania’s top environmental regulator, Abruzzo worked under Gov. Corbett during his term as Attorney General, running the Drug Strike Force and prosecuting Medicaid fraud. He has no environmental background.

The sexually explicit emails were requested by the Inquirer and other newspapers under a Right-to-Know law request. They are related to the current Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s investigation of the Jerry Sandusky prosecution while Corbett was at the helm.

Kane released the names of eight emailers, which include the state’s top cop, and showed reporters some of the pornographic messages.

More from the Inquirer:

The emails include explicit photos and videos of women and men engaged in oral sex, anal sex and intercourse.

Kane’s office showed only what it called a sampling of the emails and their contents; it could not say specifically if the messages were opened, provide the dates they were sent, or if the pornography had been viewed by the intended recipients.

The office also could not say how many people received the e-mails, how often the emails circulated, or how many such e-mails the eight named recipients sent or received.

Kane’s office did not show reporters the images of actual emails – just the attached image or the video, which it then attributed to a specific person.

The Inquirer reports the email exchanges also include more state employees:

The exchange of several sexually explicit emails – several hundred over that four-year span – is believed to involve many more state employees, including top state jurists and 30 current employees of the state Attorney General’s Office. Kane’s office said it was precluded from releasing names of current employees under union agreements.

The emails had been retrieved during Kane’s internal review of how her predecessors handled the investigation of serial pedophile Jerry Sandusky.

But until last week, a judge had prevented her from deciding whether to grant the news outlets’ claims to see the documents under the state’s Right-to-Know law. As recently as Tuesday, Kane’s office denied The Inquirer’s request for the records.

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