Former ND prison warden banned from propertyBISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's retired state prison warden will no longer be allowed on Corrections Department property after revelations that he did not inform authorities a decade ago that a State Penitentiary inmate had downloaded child pornography.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's retired state prison warden will no longer be allowed on Corrections Department property after revelations that he did not inform authorities a decade ago that a State Penitentiary inmate had downloaded child pornography.
Corrections Director Leann Bertsch has banned Tim Schuetzle from the prison and other facilities. “He's retired, so I can't fire him,” she said. “I don't know how he sleeps at night ... it's just not typical behavior for someone who works with inmates. I think anyone who works with inmates knows they're not in prison for singing too loud in the shower.”
Schuetzle, who retired two years ago, said he did a good job of maintaining the safety and security of the penitentiary during his 18 years as warden and believes staff that worked under him would say the same.
“I feel very good about the job that I did, and I think the record speaks for itself,” he said.
The issue came to light in court documents for the case of Damien Breding, who was sentenced recently in federal court for the child porn crime that occurred while he was serving time for killing twin 6-year-old girls in 1991.
Schuetzle declined comment to The Associated Press late last month, saying “I'm retired. I'm out of it.” He told the Tribune this week that he does not remember the case.
Federal authorities said they found out about the pornography case after reviewing Breding's file before his scheduled release from prison last December. He is now serving a term of two years and three months in the child porn case.
Schuetzle said in a letter to the federal court that he purposely declined to alert authorities to the child porn case in 2004 as required by law because he was unhappy about the way the state handled crimes at the prison. Federal prosecutors said they could have charged Schuetzle with a crime over his decision to keep the matter in-house if the five-year legal deadline had not passed.
Schuetzle told the Tribune that he doesn't remember the case.
Bertsch also said she has fired Denny Fracassi, who had been head of Rough Rider Industries, the prison's manufacturing operation, for failing to follow safety and security procedures — problems to which she now believes Schuetzle “turned a blind eye.” An administrative law judge upheld the firing on Monday, she said.
Schuetzle said he did not ignore issues within Rough Rider Industries, but dealt with them as they arose. Fracassi declined comment but said he is considering appealing.