New documents give insight into investigation of former DOC deputy commissioner

Updated: July 26, 2019 06:44 PM

Newly released documents indicate some of the accusations against the former Department of Corrections deputy commissioner.

Sarah Walker resigned from the position of deputy commissioner last week. Days later, the DOC confirmed Walker was under an internal investigation.

On Thursday night, the DOC shared documents detailing the allegations.

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They include an anonymous letter from a state employee accusing Walker of helping funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to a nonprofit that does business with her husband.

Another letter accuses Walker of leaking the identity of a sexual assault survivor to a reporter.

Earlier this week, Walker told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the investigation was not the reason for her resignation.

She has denied the allegations.

Walker released the following statement to KSTP after the release of the documents:

"I am relieved to see the specifics of the complaints against me finally made public. I am out of the state with my family, attending my father-in-law's memorial service, and look forward to responding upon my return home."

Rep. Marion O'Neill (R-Maple Lake), Republican Lead on the House Corrections Division, also issued a statement Thursday night:

"The documents released this evening directly contradict Ms. Walker's claim that she did not engage in lobbying on behalf of her husband's organization. In addition, she may have violated state law by releasing non-public personnel data, re-victimizing a survivor of sexual assault in the process. I urge the Walz administration to review the investigative data and take appropriate action to hold Ms. Walker accountable if there is evidence that Ms. Walker violated state law."

DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell said Friday he's focused on moving forward after Walker's departure.

"Ms. Walker decided to resign on her own volition she was never asked to leave," Schnell said. "And ultimately, the information was turned over to the public we want to be very transparent about that and I think it's important now that we move forward and do right by the people of Minnesota and do good correctional work."

"We take it seriously. This is a public trust issue," Schnell said. "I hope that people see when the information became available to me, we acted, initiated the investigation and we are where we are. And, we will begin the process of choosing a new deputy commissioner so we can start to move forward."

Schnell said copies of the investigative documents were also handed over to the state's Office of the Legislative Auditor. And, it would be up to law enforcement to decide whether Walker broke any laws and whether she would face charges.

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