Former deputy under investigation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2011

SALISBURY — State agents are investigating whether a former detective with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office broke the law by creating a fake email address to send an embarrassing email to the newspaper and county officials.
Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten said the SBI is looking into the matter involving Jason Whitley, who left the department March 28.
Whitley is accused of sending the email using the name of a woman who worked with his wife in the Rowan Tax Assessor’s Office.
His wife, Stephanie Whitley, was fired Monday, according to county officials.
The email was sent Feb. 22 to all five Rowan County commissioners and blind copied to several other recipients, including Salisbury Post reporters. It contained a memorandum that had been given to employees at the Tax Assessor’s Office. The memorandum outlines a behavior policy for those who work with or in view of the public. Among them are rules against employees “belching or passing gas” and slumping in their chairs. (Download a copy of the memo here)
The email was sent from a Hotmail account in the name of Melody Patterson, an employee in the Tax Assessor’s Office.
Jason Whitley, who specialized in investigating Internet crime for the Sheriff’s Office, faces a potential charge of misuse of a government computer, Auten said.