DNR Releases Identity of Discharged Employee

By KBJR News 1

DNR Releases Identity of Discharged Employee

January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 4:20 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The Minnesota DNR has released the identity of the employee who allegedly accessed 5,000 people's driver's license records unlawfully.

John A. Hunt was discharged on January 11th from the DNR in connection with an investigation that he was viewing the driver's license data during off-duty hours and without a job-related reason to do so.

DNR officials say that Hunt was discharged because unauthorized access of the database is a violation of state and federal law, as well as DNR policy and the agency's standards of behavior.

"This employee not only violated the law, but betrayed the trust of the agency, his supervisors, and fellow employees," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "His behavior does not meet the high standards of integrity that we expect from our law enforcement officers or from all employees."

The investigations showed Hunt allegedly queried about 11,800 driver's license and motor vehicle records during off-duty hours from January 2008 to October 2012. Since some individuals were queried more than once, the investigation showed about 5,000 individuals had their DVS data viewed.

There is no indication the viewed data was sold, disclosed to others, or used for criminal purposes. No social security numbers or other DNR-related license or registration data was involved.

The DNR recently sent letters to those individuals making them aware their records had been inappropriately accessed.

The investigation indicated that about 90% of those individuals whose data was viewed were female. Records of celebrities, professional athletes, criminal justice professionals, television personalities, politicians, and others whose names appeared in news stories were viewed.

"Everyone at the DNR is upset, embarrassed and disappointed by his actions," Landwehr said, "and we sincerely apologize to everyone affected by his wrongful behavior."

Hunt was the DNR Enforcement Division's data practices "designee." He was responsible for managing the division's responsibilities for complying with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which included staff training and assisting staff with data practices issues and requests.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns