Corbett says sexually explicit emails ‘unacceptable’

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Some employees in the Pennsylvania AG’s office weren’t acting PG, as documented in emails showing raunchy behavior.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane shook up the Capitol on Thursday when her office allowed reporters from several outlets to view a select sample of sexually explicit material sent through state email accounts, according to reports from several newspapers.

Kane’s office identified eight former employees of the attorney general’s office who received the X-rated attachments. Two of them are current cabinet members for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, according to several news outlets, including the Associated Press, PennLive and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

INAPPROPRIATE INBOXES: Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Thursday released a select sample of sexually explicit material sent through state email accounts.

Both state police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo were among those named, according to the reports. Other people involved — beyond the eight named Thursday — were not immediately identified.

Reacting to questions about how the governor’s office would be handling the revelation, Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni told PA Independent the “information needs to be reviewed further.”

“However, the images described and the behavior described in news accounts is unacceptable to the governor, and he believes that it should not be tolerated,” Pagni said.

Spokespersons for the state police and DEP didn’t immediately respond to request for comment late Thursday afternoon. Kane spokesperson Renee Martin also didn’t respond to an email sent by PA Independent after normal working hours seeking further information.

Kane’s office allowed reporters to view the explicit content after balking at releasing the images earlier this week, according to PennLive.

“Attorney General Kane believes it is in the public’s best interest to have a good understanding of how its public servants conduct their business,” Martin said in a statement, according to PennLive. “She also believes transparency on this issue is a very good way to help ensure that the exchanging of sexually explicit materials through internal emails on state-owned equipment, during official work hours, doesn’t happen elsewhere.”

The complete context of the emails and the raunchy attachments wasn’t immediately clear. PennLive reported that “limited information made available Thursday only confirmed that the sexual materials were in the recipients’ inboxes. It was not clear that the images had been viewed, or whether they had been forwarded to anyone else.”

The explicit content was found as part of an investigation into how the attorney general’s office — under Corbett and then his successor Linda Kelly — handled the Jerry Sandusky case.

While Corbett was in charge of that office at one time, Pagni said the governor “had no knowledge that this activity was occurring, nor did he have any insight into what the contents of these emails are.” Corbett learned of the emails earlier this year.

While the initial headlines are eye-popping enough, there could be more to the already sensational story. Even though Kane’s office named only eight people, the Inquirer reported the explicit correspondence “is believed to involve many more state employees, including top state jurists and 30 current employees of the state Attorney General’s Office.”

Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Andrew@PAIndependent.com. Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

Top