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Suspended investigator sues state inspector general, claims whistleblower protections in Parole Board case

The offices of the Virginia Parole Board in Richmond.
The offices of the Virginia Parole Board in Richmond.(Virginia Mercury)
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 7:56 AM EST
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A senior investigator in Virginia’s watchdog agency has filed a lawsuit claiming she was wrongfully suspended from her job last week after giving General Assembly leaders documents dealing with her investigation into wrongdoing by the Virginia Parole Board.

Jennifer Moschetti, an employee of the Office of the State Inspector General, filed the suit Monday in Richmond, claiming she had been subjected to “retaliatory actions” for conduct protected under the state’s whistleblower law.

The lawsuit is the latest explosive development in a controversy over how the Parole Board handled several high-profile cases last year and whether other state officials sought to conceal the extent of OSIG’s findings detailing numerous violations of Parole Board policies and state law.

Moschetti’s suit says she was visited at home last Friday by other OSIG officials who seized her work laptop and told her she was being put on “pre-disciplinary leave with pay.”

Through a lawyer, Timothy Anderson of Virginia Beach, Moschetti demanded Inspector General Michael Westfall reverse course and said she was claiming whistleblower status.

The suit says Moschetti “did not release any of her work product or documents to the media at any time.”

Moschetti is asking the court to order Westfall to reinstate her as an employee and “cease and desist” any threats of retaliation.

Asked about potential disciplinary action last week, an OSIG spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on personnel matters.

Moschetti’s suit also claims she was contacted by “federal law enforcement” concerning an investigation “involving the circumstances of the Virginia Parole Board,” an inquiry with which she fully cooperated.

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