NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The employee of the District Attorney’s Office who reportedly handed over a sexual report to another local TV station has resigned.
Ken Whitehouse, the Director of Research and Media Relations, submitted his resignation to DA Glenn Funk amid growing pressure from Chief of Police Steve Anderson.
Chief Anderson stripped Whitehouse of access to the police database after the chief says he gave a rape incident report to WSMV.
According to an internal audit by the Metro police’s IT department obtained by News 2, Whitehouse ran several hundred searches in the Advanced Records Management System (ARMS) program.
ARMS includes information such as incident reports, arrest information, mug shots, citations, and court documents, according to the police department.
Metro officers and some civilian support staff have access to ARMS. Other agencies, including the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Court Clerk, District Attorney’s Office, and area police departments, also have access to the program.
Access for each is limited according to their business needs and approval from chain of command.
The system is not open to the general public.
Last month, Chief Anderson called Whitehouse’s access of the rape report “irresponsible, unconscionable… a violation of the trust this victim placed in the criminal justice system, and a violation of the public trust.”
Anderson also blasted Whitehouse, saying, “The indiscriminate publication of this report violated the trust that all past, present and future victims of sexual assault place in the criminal justice system and cannot be tolerated.” Click here to read Chief Anderson’s letter in full.
News 2 found that Whitehouse did searches for other people in the ARMS system as well, including our very own reporter Andy Cordan.
He also searched Jeremy Durham in May 2016; former Titans Quarterback Steve McNair on July 6, 2016, two days after the seven-year anniversary of his murder; and former Titans kicker Rob Bironas in Sept. 2016, nearly two years after he died.
News 2 also found Whitehouse ran record searches on Metro Nashville Public Schools District 7 board member Will Pinkston on June 27 and Aug. 23, 2016.
When reached by email, Pinkston told News 2:
The 2016 school board races were marked by unprecedented negative attacks coordinated by outside special interests. I hope Ken was just a victim of his own curiosity and that the DA’s office was not trying to inappropriately interfere in our local elections….. But it’s certainly bizarre that they were running names of elected officials and reporters. Sounds downright Nixon-esque or Putin-esque.
Jason Holleman was running for the At Large position of Metro Council last summer, and Whitehouse searched him as well.
He told News 2, “I have known Ken since high school. I can only presume that he looked me up because we knew each other, and he was curious.”
In Whitehouse’s resignation letter dated Dec. 9 and obtained by News 2, he wrote:
I have enjoyed my time as part of your team. I am proud of the accomplishments that this hoffice has made under your leadership, from increasing the diversity of the staff to further reflect the demographics of the city we love, to expediting cases to better benefit and serve the community at large.
It is with great regret that I must submit my resignation as a member of your staff.
The reason for this resignation is that I realize that I violated user agreements between this office and other law enforcement agencies regarding access to data. I sincerely regret the incident that occurred December 16, 2016. Other than that, please know that in doing this I never distributed or shared information harmful or potentially harmful of an individual.
Thank you for your service to the citizens of Nashville.
The District Attorney’s office said it would not comment further.
“It is the policy of this office to not comment on personnel matters,” spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said.
Chief Anderson did not immediately have a comment about Whitehouse’s resignation.