MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has fired an employee for sexually harassing a female co-worker, records the agency released Wednesday show.
An Associated Press review of DNR discipline records obtained through an open records request in March found the agency sent 26 letters reprimanding, suspending or terminating employees in 2013. The DNR released 25 letters, saying the last worker was challenging the release of his letter in court.
DNR officials said Wednesday the employee lost that fight and released the letter to The AP. DNR attorneys redacted the employee’s name and position from the letter, just as they did the names and positions of the employees in the other 25. They maintain the names aren’t necessary to satisfy the public’s interest in knowing whether the agency properly disciplines workers.
The man is identified in the online court records of his effort to keep the letter from being released. The man’s attorney did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The letter showed the employee was fired in August for violating a number of DNR rules, including prohibitions on sexual harassment, immoral conduct and using abusive language.
According to the letter, the employee sang a rap song with sexual lyrics more than once to a female co-worker despite her pleas to stop, forcibly hugged a female co-worker against her wishes and discussed a sexual relationship with a former girlfriend in graphic detail with a female co-worker.
The employee initially claimed he didn’t know the conduct offended the co-worker. He later acknowledged, however, that she was offended and had told him as much. The employee acknowledged the conduct violated the DNR’s rules.
The review of the initial 25 discipline letters found a conservation warden was fired in July for repeatedly using his state computer to create personal documents and taking his sons fishing in a state boat. The warden was identified as David Horzewski in a criminal complaint filed in Sauk County earlier this month charging him with stealing guns from people he cited for hunting transgressions. Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Horzewski on Wednesday.
Another worker was reprimanded for remarking he was undressing a female co-worker with his eyes and another was reprimanded for searching YouTube for videos of girls on his state computer. The worker also said he may have accidentally viewed pornographic websites on the computer.
DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said in an email late Wednesday that the facts show the agency is enforcing work rules.