Friday, May 9, 2008

911 Operator arrested for computer tresspass, alleges relligious discrimination

Nadire Zenelaj, a former 911 operator in Rochester, New York, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of computer trespass and official misconduct. An investigation was conducted by the city's Office of Public Integrity in cooperation with the Rochester Police Department, the New York State Police and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office.

"We are looking at the many ways in which fraud can take place and taking the necessary steps to protect our citizens," said Mayor Robert J. Duffy. "Unfortunately, there are individuals who think they can take advantage of their positions for unlawful purposes. We must stay ahead of these risks and be diligent in our insistence that city employees, as civil servants, are held to a very high expectation to carry out their duties with integrity."

The charges are based on the allegations that, while employed by the city as a 911 operator, Zenelaj, on multiple occasions, unlawfully accessed highly sensitive and restricted law enforcement and criminal records information for her own purposes and not related to any official business. It is further alleged that she accessed highly sensitive information pertaining to the terrorism watch list and obtained this information for personal reasons.

Zenelaj was terminated from her position in December, 2007.

Zenelaj insists she did nothing wrong and is being singled out because she is Muslim. She says she filed a discrimination lawsuit with the State Department of Human Rights. "I feel they targeted me because of my religion." said Zenelaj, who worked at the 911 center for nearly six years.

Zenelaj said, "I have no criminal history. I have never gone against the law. I totally deny the allegations of computer trespassing and misconduct. Anything that I did at the 911 center was with the training they had given me. I wasn't the only one. Just about everyone in my position has done the same regardless if whether they hit on any information that was sensitive or not. I deny in any way, shape or form that any information was disseminated. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a straight and legit person. I don't have any terrorist ties." (info from Government Technology, Gannett, and R News. Photo from Gannett)

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