Rochester, N.Y.—Monroe County decided to cut ties with its suspended Crime Laboratory Administrator, firing Janet Anderson-Seaquist following the release of a scathing state report.
The Acting Inspector General accused Anderson-Seaquist and a staff member of “irresponsible practices” that led to the destruction of key evidence in criminal cases.
“I agree with the state, her behavior and some of her decisions are unacceptable and I have lost my confidence in her ability to serve the public in that capacity,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.
The Inspector General’s investigation said that Anderson-Seaquist “unilaterally determined that 270 criminal cases pending evidence review could not be tested as they were time barred.”
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said her office received a “stack of reports” within the last year that said these cases were barred by the statute of limitations.
“There were 270 cases that were apparently closed. We found that in at least 40 of them, that cases were still viable for prosecution,” said Doorley.
John Clark will serve as the acting lab director for the time being. Clark had worked as Senior Supervisor of the Firearms Section according to Monroe County Public Safety Director Stephen Bowman. Brooks would not say when a permanent replacement would be named.
Monroe County responded to the state’s report with a letter outlining policy amendments that include the formation of a Crime Lab Advisory Panel. It would be chaired by the Director of Public Safety and include members of the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement according to the letter.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport) and Monroe County Minority Leader Ted O’Brien questioned Brooks’ decision-making in light of the Anderson-Seaquist firing. Slaughter released a statement comparing this incident to previous county leaders such as former Airport Directors David Damelio and Susan Walsh, who left admit controversies.
O’Brien questioned the timing of Anderson-Seaquist’s firing since the county knew about the allegations two weeks ago.
“I think it’s just totally irresponsible that people would play politics with public safety,” responded Brooks. “We fired her the minute we got the report. We looked at it for about an hour then we decided that we had to dismiss her of her duties.”