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Our View: Shouldn’t be a deputy

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:32 a.m. CDT

We continue to be baffled by a system that allows someone with a record such as Zane Seipler to continue to be a law enforcement officer anywhere, let alone with the department in which he has caused so much strife.

Yet Seipler continues to wear a badge, carry a gun, and be paid by McHenry County taxpayers as a sworn deputy of the county Sheriff’s Office.

In the latest outrage, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that Seipler and his wife lied under oath when they took the stand as part of Seipler’s ongoing lawsuit against his boss, Sheriff Keith Nygren.

In the lawsuit, Seipler alleges that his civil rights were violated when he was fired out of retaliation for blowing the whistle on alleged racial profiling. Nygren has said Seipler was fired because he wrote traffic tickets or warnings to passengers rather than drivers who did not have valid licenses, an offense that Seipler admits.

As part of his lawsuit, Seipler received confidential sheriff’s department files, including employee disciplinary records. Those records then were published on a blog called “The Real MCSO Exposed.”

As we’ve reported, Seipler first said that he did not know who owned the website, didn’t give anyone the documents, and didn’t know how the blogger got them. But he later said that his wife, Rosalinda, created the blog and posted the documents without his knowledge.

On the stand, Rosalinda Seipler supported her husband’s latest claim, testifying that she found some documents in an office area and decided to post them online. But when asked to demonstrate how she created the blog, she couldn’t.

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala concluded that the Seiplers lied under oath.

“There is no justification for such a blatant disregard of the oath that they each took, and their willingness to repeatedly lie to the court in order to protect this case from the possibility of being dismissed is an affront to the integrity of this court,” Kapala said.

Kapala said Seipler will have to pay a severe penalty, and asked Nygren’s attorneys to submit their legal fees. There was no mention of whether Seipler and his wife would be investigated and prosecuted for perjury, a crime.

So let’s summarize:

• Seipler, according to a judge, lied under oath in an attempt to keep his lawsuit against the sheriff from being dismissed.

• Earlier in the case, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if his boss, Nygren, had something to do with the killing of a former deputy’s brother. That’s in addition to many other disparaging things he said about his boss.

• He was fired for ticketing passengers instead of the drivers who committed the offenses, but the legal system decided he should be reinstated.

We’ve asked this question before and, after this latest incident, we’ll ask it again: What kind of work environment is created when employees are allowed to challenge the boss, impugn his character on a public stage, and embarrass the organization without penalty?

It’s a flawed system that allows someone such as this to continue to wear a badge.

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