Named in office porn exchanges, Pa.’s DEP chief resigns

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Former head of the  Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection

Former head of the Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection

The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is leaving his post.

The resignation of Chris Abruzzo Thursday follows last week’s announcement by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane that he was among eight current and former state employees who exchanged sexually explicit e-mails on state computers.

In a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett, Abruzzo said he has “no recollection” of the pornographic emails described by the media, but that he accepts responsibility for any “lack of judgment” he “may have exhibited” in 2009.

He also met with Corbett Thursday, according to sources close to the governor.

Last week, Kane named Abruzzo and seven others whom she says swapped sexually explicit e-mails on work computers during office hours.

The exchanges occurred within the attorney general’s office when Corbett was at its helm, Kane said.

Corbett, who has denounced the e-mails, said he would wait for more information before taking any action against state employees.

The attorney general’s office said it was putting together that information for the governor.

Kane’s office says it discovered hundreds of pornographic emails during its review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse prosecution.

Abruzzo came to the DEP’s top slot by way of the governor’s office and also served in the attorney general’s office.

As for DEP, its acting secretary will be Dana Aunkst, an engineer and deputy secretary who’s been with the agency for 22 years.

Among the others identified by Kane’s office were state police Commissioner Frank Noonan and two other men serving in Corbett’s administration.

Click through to StateImpact Pennsylvania for more, in-depth coverage.

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