Gov. Paul LePage issued an executive order Friday prohibiting state employees from accessing pornographic or sexually explicit material on state computers or devices.

The order will allow the state to have just one policy for all agencies, said Adrienne Bennett, the spokeswoman for the governor.

Bennett said state agencies now have rules to prohibit accessing inappropriate material from work devices, but the language and penalties vary by agency. The order, she said, allows the state to establish one rule and a procedure for dealing with those who violate it.

That rule and the punishment are still being developed, she said, but the executive order said “such misconduct will constitute just cause for termination.”

She said the state needs to post a rule and communicate it with unions and employees.

Bennett said the executive order wasn’t triggered by a specific incident, but there have been cases of employees violating agency rules in recent years. Bennett said she couldn’t provide details.

“State agencies already have rules to prohibit this behavior at work, but the practice continues,” LePage said in a statement accompanying the executive order.

“Misconduct such as this, while uncommon, is a violation of the public’s trust and could expose the State to sexual harassment complaints,” said Joyce Oreskovich, director of the Bureau of Human Resources, in the same statement.

The order was announced Friday, but the release indicated that the policy took effect Feb. 5.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.