A state hearing officer has ruled the Division of Child and Family Services was within its rights to fire an employee caught repeatedly pulling up pornographic Web sites on his state-owned computer.
State computer technicians found links to Internet porn sites on Lawrence Ling's computer in the Reno Family Services office in December 2001. When confronted by his supervisor, he denied purposely accessing the sites.
He was reprimanded and his computer cleaned up by technicians to remove all evidence of pornographic Web sites from its memory.
But during an equipment upgrade in March 2002, technicians found more than 400 items in the computer's Internet history files indicating Ling had continued accessing porn sites from the state computer.
After an investigation, Family Services officials concluded Ling had resumed viewing those types of Web pages almost immediately after he was reprimanded and his computer cleaned up in December.
The second time, Ling admitted he had been using the computer to view pornographic material in violation of state personnel rules. But he denied ever accessing any sites that contained child pornography and said he was in therapy for the problem, which he termed an addiction.
He was charged with violating state personnel and policy rules governing the use of state equipment as well as insubordination for ignoring orders by his supervisors to stop the practice and terminated from his job as a clinical social worker.
Hearing officer Pat Dolan agreed, saying there is substantial evidence Ling lied to his supervisors and continued to access porn sites after his first reprimand.
He said the evidence also establishes that Ling "concealed his inappropriate conduct on an almost daily basis by virtue of his admission that he would erase the history and 'cookie' files and recycle bin on that interval in an effort to prevent an electronic trail of his pornographic activities."
He said Ling's attempts to cover his trail destroyed the state's ability to figure out exactly which porn sites were visited and how often.
He described Ling's conduct as "disgraceful personal conduct which did and does cause discredit to the agency."
He also pointed out that Ling stopped going to therapy for what he claims is sexual addiction to pornography and only started again after his job was threatened.