Former Corrections Officer Appeals His Firing over Images

By Foley, Ryan J | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), January 17, 2014 | Go to article overview

Former Corrections Officer Appeals His Firing over Images


Foley, Ryan J, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


Fired teacher could return MIDDLETON-- A Middleton elementary school teacher fired for viewing pornography at work could be back on the job soon. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to take up an appeal of an arbitrator ruling by the Middleton-Cross Plains School District. Glacier Creek Middle School teacher Andrew Harris was fired in 2010 and six other district employees were suspended for viewing and sharing porn and sexually inappropriate images, jokes or videos on district computers. Harris could be back at work within a month.NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa - An Iowa correctional officer fired for using his work computer to Photoshop a "huge volume" of images of co-workers and mentally ill patients said Thursday he is appealing his termination, which had also prompted discipline against several other employees accused of computer misuse.

John Aaron Powers, 29, was fired Sept. 30 from the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville for improperly accessing photos of patients, inmates and employees from internal databases and using a software program to put their faces on the bodies of celebrities, animals and others. His termination notice also said that he visited websites that were of a sexual nature during work hours, adding that he committed "numerous violations" of state computer policies.

An investigation led to a 10-day suspension of another correctional officer who made similar images of workers, public records show. At least four other employees - another officer who traded emails with Powers, two nurses and a lieutenant - also have since resigned, Powers said.

Lt. Vicki Garrett, who led the investigation, testified at a December hearing in Powers' unsuccessful appeal for unemployment benefits that other staff members have been terminated and resigned under pressure "after this investigation of Mr. Powers."

"Once they realized that others were involved, they felt the first one had to be fired," Powers said. "But I don't see how I can be fired without progressive discipline."

Corrections officials had no immediate comment.

Powers worked at a psychiatric hospital inside the prison for mentally ill offenders who are incompetent to stand trial or deemed too dangerous to be released after completing sentences. He said the images were a good-natured effort to bring humor to a dreary environment . …

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