Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 5:36 p.m.
Unlike Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Nevada Highway Patrol sergeant in Las Vegas didn’t get a second chance after he was caught “sexting” on the job.
Now, a court fight is looming over the firing of the officer, who was terminated for conduct including sexting with a co-worker while on duty in an NHP office.
Kenneth Twiddy was fired effective Feb. 8 after three female NHP personnel accused him of sexual harassment or of being discourteous toward them.
Among the allegations were that he was “viewing or distributing pornographic material at the premises of the workplace” and participated in “sexual conduct on the premises of the workplace.”
Records in Twiddy’s firing show it was related mainly to consensual “sexting” between him and a female dispatcher who was subordinate to him, but was not under his direct command.
Investigators said that on several occasions in 2008 and 2009, he used a cellphone to send a number of texts containing sexual references and/or photos to the dispatcher.
“Several of these text messages included photographs of Twiddy’s naked and erect penis, taken by him on the camera in his cellphone, and taken in and transmitted from Twiddy’s workplace, a restroom in the NHP Southern Command headquarters, all while Twiddy was on duty,” a state hearing officer wrote in a report on Twiddy’s firing.
The dispatcher reciprocated with cellphone photos of “her own naked private parts” — but later filed a sexual harassment claim against Twiddy, records show.
Nevada Highway Patrol officials declined to comment on the case this week, saying it was a personnel issue. But someone familiar with the incidents told the Las Vegas Sun and its sister publication VEGAS INC that the dispatcher’s participation occurred while she was off duty and that she wasn’t fired.
State records show Twiddy, who joined the Highway Patrol as a cadet in 1997, had an exemplary record until October 2009.
That’s when investigations began into the allegations of sexting with the dispatcher, that he was rude to a female officer and that a second female officer was sexually harassed when Twiddy told an employee that this officer “was engaging in sexual congress with several other members of the department.”
“Twiddy admits the conversation and its content, but contends that he was divulging the information ‘for the good’ ” of this second female officer, the record in the case says.
As for his exemplary record before the complaints in 2009, hearing officer Richard Reed wrote in his decision that this record is not strong enough “to erase the image of an NHP sergeant going into a restroom at his workplace, arousing himself, taking pictures of his erect penis with his cellphone camera and transmitting them to a female employee of the NHP who was a subordinate, or at least of inferior rank.”
A Las Vegas attorney for Twiddy, Adam Levine, said Wednesday he plans to file in court a petition for judicial review of the hearing officer’s decision upholding Twiddy’s firing.
He said the hearing officer in his ruling failed to point out that Twiddy’s conduct occurred while Twiddy was on lunch break — although he acknowledged NHP officers on lunch break are technically on duty.
“It did not involve a state computer or a state phone,” Levine said.
Levine stressed the sexting was consensual and it only became an employment issue after Twiddy and the dispatcher had a falling out.
“She sent photos of herself and asked him to respond,” Levine said.