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Feb 3, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
HOUSTON, Texas – The FBI is currently investigating allegations that medical staff at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have been viewing child porn websites in-between shifts.

Allegations stem from a complaint filed by an in-hospital investigator, Cynthia Davis, that medical staff were being allowed by hospital administrators to continue viewing child porn on the job without appropriate punishment.

Davis alleges that some of the employees viewing porn on the job included doctors and a pediatric dentist, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Davis claims that after conducting an ongoing investigation for a period of five years, her colleagues created a "hostile work environment" and she was forced to resign from her position. She also claims that the hospital president, among other hospital administrators, were involved in a "cover up" of employee behavior.

The investigation has been handed over to the FBI by the Houston police for a deeper look into the allegations that child pornography laws were being violated. Although there are also reports that Davis went directly to the FBI herself.

The crux of Davis' investigation focused on 10 male hospital employees who were in the habit of viewing child porn. More than half of those employees were making regular visitations to a teen porn site that featured underage models, Davis alleges. Davis also alleges that there were even more hospital employees viewing porn than she included in her report.

The Houston Chronicle reports that among those employees was a dentist who routinely viewed child porn sites in the early morning before treating child patients.

Prior to her resignation, Davis submitted a memo to the hospital president criticizing the hospital for not taking action, and citing the names of employees involved in viewing pornography on the job.

"In the five years I have been at UT-Houston, I have conducted 15 investigations of employees viewing pornography," Davis wrote in a memo obtained by the Houston Chronicle. "Only four of these investigations resulted in termination of employment, despite the most horrific and egregious displays of pornographic material and behavior by some of our physicians."

Davis also claims that hospital administrators treated minority employees differently than white employees when it came to viewing online porn. Davis cited an incident in 1999 in which child pornography was found on a family physician's computer. He was allowed to quietly resign, the Houston Chronicle reports. There was also an incident in which a hospital employee was producing self-made porn videos of himself. He was also barely punished. But then there were three black employees, reports the Chronicle, who were terminated immediately when porn was found on their office computers.

The Hospital president responded to Davis' memo by saying that reprimands were in order, but that hospital policy regarding such behavior had been previously inconsistent and therefore firing certain employees was not an appropriate action.

Since Davis' resignation, hospital administrators claim to have issued a memo to faculty and staff that disciplinary action and termination would result from future infractions when it came to viewing porn or child porn online.

The Houston Chronicle reports that as an immediate solution, UT-Houston is installing blocking software that will prevent online access from the hospital to adult porn and child porn sites.

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