El Paso Candidate Sent Nude Photos Using Work Email

A woman running for the job of El Paso's county tax assessor-collector was once punished and reprimanded for sending pornographic emails from her county work account, documents obtained by a newspaper show.

A 2001 disciplinary action memo showed that Siria Rocha was suspended for a day without pay and reprimanded for emails with nude photos of muscular men, "`off-color jokes' and cartoons to pictures of nudity and sexual activity."

The county released documents Friday, the result of an open records request, from Rocha's county personnel file from when she worked for the El Paso County Attorney's Office, The El Paso Times reported. Rocha's runoff opponent in Tuesday's Democratic primary, incumbent Ruben P. Gonzalez, gave the documents to the newspaper.

Rocha told the newspaper that the emails were old and that she "took full responsibility from these careless mistakes made in my 20s."

The documents list more than 200 emails sent and received in summer 2001 not related to county business. The emails were forwarded to other county employees, were inappropriate, violated policy and could bring sexual harassment complaints, the memo said. The emails had the signature line "Siria Rocha. Hospital Collections Analyst. El Paso County Hospital District Legal Unit."

"This is absolutely unacceptable and inexcusable," states the memo, which is signed by signed by El Paso's county attorney. It also says Rocha was suspended for one day without pay.

A separate Jan. 28, 1998, disciplinary memo stated that Rocha was given a warning for having a poor working relationship with co-workers, soliciting campaign contributions during work hours and asking a county investigator "to find out everything he could about the owner of a particular license plate."

"I sent some emails in an attempt at harmless humor to be shared among friends and requested what I thought was public information regarding a license plate," Rocha said in a statement Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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