Ohio? No thanks

May 14 2009 by Derek Torres Print This Article

If you've ever thought about working for the great state of Ohio, you may want to think again, especially if you're of the porn surfin', hell raisin', and prostitute soliciting persuasion. Ok, perhaps that came out wrong because the punishment doesn't really seem to fit the "crime" in this story about such a man.

The long and short (no pun intended) of the story is this: a government (state level) worker in Ohio was caught using his work computer on online dating services, even having gone as far as to send nude photos of himself to the dating site and eventually soliciting a prostitute online. So far, it sounds like this guy knows how to party.

The chap was fired from his position once he was caught. Despite my lame attempts at humor in this post, this seems like a fair and reasonable course of events. Clearly, such behavior isn't permissible in the workplace.

It's what happened next is where I disagree: the chap in question was charged criminally for his misadventures. He was convicted (later upheld on appeal) of soliciting a prostitute, hacking (!), and theft of services from office.

This is where you should worry. I'm willing to bet most of us don't solicit ladies online from work, but theft of services? Hacking? Apparently, the state of Ohio's legal system has a very different view of hacking from the rest of us. More importantly, theft of services for describing lost/wasted time? If that is a crime, most of us should be locked up at one time of another.

It seems somewhat of a stretch to equate inappropriate use of a computer with hacking. Also, what determines theft of services? Isn't an extraordinarily long lunch or personal phone also a theft of service in some peoples' eyes?

Perhaps firings in the public sector are more difficult to prove or to obtain than in the private section. Nevertheless, such pursuits can cause headaches for those of us who don't go to such extremes. By the way, this guy got 15 months in the slammer.