Sherman Higdon, a public works employee in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been placed on administrative leave after authorities found evidence he may have used his work cell phone, computer and car to arrange services as a prostitute, according to the Times Free Press.
City officials launched an investigation after Higdon's coworkers found sexually explicit photos and texts sent to a shared department cell phone.
The city's Human Resources Department interviewed seven employees, several of whom verified that they had seen inquiries sent to a company phone from people asking about sex for money and photos of naked men. Those employees also said Higdon, who worked the overnight shift, had a history of deleting call logs and text messages before turning the phone over to the next shift.
The city also found sexually explicit photos stored on a work computer. The pictures were in a folder saved under Higdon's login. While investigators pointed out that the photos from his computer weren't evidence of prostitution, records from a tracker on his city car show that Higdon left work for hours at a time to meet people at a secluded recreational area near Chickamauga Dam.
Higdon, who has claimed that he doesn't know how the images ended up on his computer, said that several other employees had his login information and could have placed the images there. He said he was meeting friends from the police department to chat at the park. Higdon left work for two to three hours at a time several nights in a row at the end of December last year.
Todd Dockery, director of the Human Resources department, issued the following statement about the investigation:
"With regards to the recent Higdon investigation, while I can not comment on specifics of this particular situation, I will say that anytime a city employee feels the need to report potential or perceived inappropriate workplace conduct, the Human Resources department will work to obtain as much information as possible and talk with potential witnesses as part of a thorough investigation process. After the investigation is completed, we then work with the department leadership as they determine any disciplinary measures that will take place. This process helps to ensure employees are given an opportunity to be heard and as much information as possible is collected to help make an informed decision."
Higdon could also be in trouble for deleting the texts and pictures from the cell phone, since the information is public record because it was city property.