DEP Secretary Abruzzo Resigns Over Explicit E-mails

  • DEP Secretary Abruzzo, center, resigned a week after the attorney general’s office named him among state employees who swapped sexually explicit e-mails on state computers years ago while working for then-attorney general Tom Corbett. Photo: Marie Cusick

October 2, 2014

Chris Abruzzo has turned in his resignation as head of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, one week after the attorney general’s office named him among state employees who swapped sexually explicit e-mails on state computers years ago while working for then-attorney general Tom Corbett.

In a letter to the governor, Abruzzo says assertions made by the attorney general’s office have become a “distraction” from the governor’s administration.

“While I have no recollection of the specific accounts described by the media, I accept full responsibility for any lack of judgment I may have exhibited in 2009,” Abruzzo writes. “I do not condone that behavior and it is not a reflection of the person or professional that I am.”

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

Last week, Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane named Abruzzo and seven other current and former state officials as having exchanged sexually explicit e-mails on state computers. At the time, they worked in the attorney general’s office during Corbett’s tenure there.

Corbett has denounced the e-mails, but asked for more information before taking any action against current state employees. Kane’s office said it was in the process of disclosing more to the governor’s office Thursday.

One more of the eight officials named is in Corbett’s cabinet: State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.

Abruzzo came to DEP in 2013, by way of the governor’s office, where he was a deputy chief of staff. Before that, he worked in the attorney general’s office, and spent much of his career as a prosecutor.

DEP’s acting secretary will be Dana Aunkst, a deputy secretary. He is an engineer and has been with the agency for 22 years.