The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 31, 2009

Two emergency workers fired in porn case

SUNBURY — Viewing pornography on county computers has not been confined to the Northumberland County sheriff's department, officials said Wednesday.

Two Northumberland County 911 center employees have been fired for looking at pornographic materials on their work computers, The Daily Item learned Wednesday.

Joe Picarella, county human resources director, confirmed the employment of the two was terminated. He would not reveal their names.

County Commissioner Vinny Clausi, who Tuesday leveled accusations that sheriff's deputies had viewed Internet pornography on their office computers, confirmed the firings, but also declined to identify the employees or their positions.

Asked whether he knew of others who could face discipline for similar actions, Clausi replied, "No comment."

Clausi said received more than 100 phone calls Wednesday from residents who were "outraged and upset" over the allegations centered on the sheriff's department.

"This must be resolved," Clausi said. "It's a concern beyond the pornography. How can (Sheriff Chad Reiner) secure the courthouse and protect the judges and the court systems when he can't even secure his own office?"

Clausi raised the issue of porn-viewing in the sheriff's office while balking over Reiner's request for a $30,000 increase in his budget.

Contacted Tuesday about the concerns, Reiner said county officials could not prove who was viewing the pornographic Web sites because his deputies would often leave their computers logged on while away from their desks. In light of the concerns, the sheriff said he has ordered his staff to cease all use of the Internet while on the job.

n E-mail comments to wlaepple@dailyitem.com

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