EUFAULA — A felony arrest warrant has been issued for a Department of Human Services secretary in McIntosh County accused of illegally using a computer to access confidential DHS information. Rhonda Renee Duke, 50, of Checotah, also is accused of disclosing the confidential information to unauthorized individuals and lying to a state investigator. The two-count charge and arrest warrant against Duke were filed Friday in McIntosh County District Court in Eufaula.
About the chargesDuke, who works as an administrative technician III for the state Department of Human Services, was still on the job Tuesday morning in McIntosh County. "I don't know what you're talking about,” she said when asked about the criminal charge. Duke had not been booked into jail as of late Tuesday afternoon, according to a jail representative. The sheriff and undersheriff could not be reached for comment. Administrative action against Duke is "still pending at this time,” said Mary Leaver, communications manager for DHS. Leaver described Duke's job with the state agency as a secretarial position. The computer records Duke is accused of accessing concern a case that was "outside the scope of her employment,” according to a sworn affidavit filed by Christopher Comer, an agent within DHS' Office of Inspector General. Comer said records indicate Duke accessed the records on June 23, 2009, and Aug. 4, 2009. When questioned about her actions in April, Duke "provided materially false verbal and written statements,” Comer said. Unlawful use of a computer is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $100,000. Providing a false statement during a state investigation is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine of not more than $500.
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