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The State Personnel Board today upheld the firing of an assistant warden at St. Clair Correctional Facility for having sexual relationships with two contract nurses at the prison and using his state cell phone to exchange explicit photos and text messages with the nurses and an administrative assistant at the prison.
Cedric Specks, a warden II at St. Clair who had worked for the Department of Corrections for 21 years, was fired in June. He appealed the firing to the State Personnel Board.
Administrative Law Judge James Jerry Wood heard testimony from Specks and other witnesses at a hearing and recommended upholding the dismissal in an order issued Oct. 1. Wood found that DOC was justified in firing Specks for violating policies on sexual harassment and misconduct, use of state-owned property and fraternization with employees.
Wood’s order says that Specks admitted that he reached out to the three women on Facebook and in person and asked for explicit pictures, which he received on his state cell phone. It says he engaged in extra-marital sexual relations with the two nurses in 2016, 2017 and part of 2018 and used his state-assigned vehicle to facilitate the encounters.
Attorney Julian McPhillips, who represented Specks at the hearing, said it was shortsighted for the DOC to fire Specks because he was a skilled and experienced warden.
“This man had an immense skill and ability to get out in the prison yard and mix and meet with the inmates and put them at ease,” McPhillips said. “He helped to tame down and tone down a lot of violence at St. Clair Correctional Facility while he was there.”
Specks said the relationships with the two nurses were consensual and did not affect his work, Woods order says. Supervisors and subordinates testified that he was a “hands-on, highly visible and largely effective warden,” the order says.
But the order also says that the administrative assistant told investigators that Specks pressured her into sending explicit pictures of her to his state cell phone and later refused her request to delete them, an example of “classic sexual harassment.” The report says Specks tried to hide the photos on his phone in an encrypted “calculator” app. And it says Specks intervened on behalf of one of the nurses when she violated DOC policy by leaving the prison with inmate’s medications in her bag.
“By virtue of his executive position, Specks manipulated the three women to do his bidding,” the order says.
The DOC had no further comment on the matter today.