The Kansas Department of Corrections is pursuing disciplinary action against a lawyer who helped a reporter chronicle illegal sexual relationships at the state’s prison for women, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal. In an ethics complaint, deputy corrections secretary Charles Simmons says attorney Keen Umbehr misrepresented the occupation of Capital-Journal reporter Tim Carpenter when the two entered the Topeka Correctional Facility in August to interview two inmates.
Umbehr said he had no legal obligation to inform the facility of the reporter’s identity as long as he didn’t misrepresent Carpenter. The state action,KDOC’s action, he said, is a retaliatory move for his part in helping to “uncover a terrible human rights abuse.””This is done to chill and punish anyone else who might come forward with complaints of corruption,” he said. Capital-Journal managing editor Tomari Quinn said Carpenter didn’t misrepresent himself in any way when visiting the facility. The Capital-Journal published stories detailing illegal sexual relationships and contraband trafficking by employees and inmates at the prison. The story of a plumbing instructor who brought tobacco to inmates and had sex with a prisoner was a prominent part of the articles. The inmate became pregnant and had an abortion, while the instructor pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual relations and trafficking charges before being placed on probation.