ST. LOUIS – A local Veterans Affairs employee has come forward alleging her boss sent a nude photo of her via text message. But despite the evidence, the employee who received the sext said she’s the one being punished.
“It’s just…it’s disgusting,” said the employee, who asked not to be identified.
The woman said she’s a VA auditor and received the picture embedded in a written text. The woman who received the message read, “She says, ‘Good morning. Please have new people working on corrections only until Ashley and I arrive.'”
“I think she thought she was being funny.”
It happened last February at the VA St. Louis office on Goodfellow. She said the VA’s solution was to give her a new supervisor, but that the sext message sender is still in the building.
“The first time I saw her, instant migraine. I don’t leave my desk,” she said. “I don’t go to lunch because it’s near over in the building where she works and it’s possible I could run into her in the cafeteria.”
The auditor also wrote a complaint letter to the VA, saying her supervisor, “… became upset with me and accused me of being judgmental.”
The supervisor did not respond to requests for comment.
Attorney Kenneth Carp said the text does not appear to be an accident.
“Innocent people say, ‘I don’t know how in the world I got in this mess.’ Guilty people always come in and say, ‘I didn’t do it.’ They’re wrong. They did something bad,” he said.
Carp, a retired military colonel, said a government agency usually holds employees to higher standards.
“Obviously, the VA appears to have a culture of its own,” he said. “It looks like they’re more concerned about the supervisor who sent the picture than the victim.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wrote the following response to our questions:
“After this incident occurred nearly a year ago, (the sender) immediately reported it to her supervisor and apologized to the two female employees who received the message, which (the sender) had inadvertently sent from her personal phone. VA has removed (her) from the affected employees’ supervisory chain of command, and she is not currently in a supervisory role.”