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Six disciplined for misusing government computers

By Jennifer McDermott

Publication: The Day

Published 02/13/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 02/13/2013 10:17 AM
Mostly civilians also accused of misuse of computers

New London - Civilian employees at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a service member were disciplined after investigators found they were misusing government computers and that some had engaged in sexual activity during work, according to the Coast Guard.

The six people involved used government computers to have inappropriate discussions or send sexually explicit or other inappropriate content, and some of the six participated in consensual sexual activity on the academy grounds during the workday, said David M. Santos, the academy's communications director.

Three of the five civilian employees were mid-level supervisors. Three of the civilians were disciplined and two resigned. The service member, who is not a cadet, was discharged from the Coast Guard, Santos said.

Santos said the activities took place over the course of 2½ years, but he could not elaborate on the punishments in accordance with the privacy exemption to the federal Freedom of Information Act.

"The Coast Guard has extensive policies outlining appropriate actions and behaviors in the workplace and on government property. When an individual is suspected of violating these policies, we carefully follow the system in place to protect the rights of all involved in the matter," Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz, the academy superintendent, said in a statement.

The Coast Guard prohibits using government computers to engage in inappropriate discussions, and the academy's policy on personal relationships within the Coast Guard prohibits civilian employees and military members from participating in sexual activity at the facility.

No criminal charges were filed.

The Coast Guard investigated the allegations last summer. The Day filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 2,113-page report, which Stosz denied in a letter last week citing the FOI Act's privacy exemption.

Santos, who answered questions about the investigation Tuesday, said he couldn't say who the individuals were or what jobs they performed at the academy.

More than 200 civilians work at the academy, including at the Health Clinic and the Leadership Development Center. They work as academic and athletic faculty members, health care professionals, grounds keepers, engineers and various administrative support personnel.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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