CHARLESTON — A former Workers' Compensation Office employee has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment by an electronic communication device charge after she allegedly sent a fake Facebook message in an attempt to have Chief Administrative Law Judge Rebecca Roush removed from office.
Nancy Workman agreed to the charge as part of her plea deal before Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit. On April 1, Tabit sentenced Workman to one year of probation and ordered her to pay restitution to Roush for legal costs. Felony charges of forgery, uttering and computer fraud were dropped as part of the plea deal.
Roush said she wanted to thank the West Virginia State Police and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for all the hard work they did in the case.
"Clearing my name and restoring my reputation has been the most important part of the past 18 months for me, and having the truth finally come out into the light is very gratifying," Roush told The West Virginia Record. "I look forward to putting this sad chapter behind me and being able to focus on the important work being performed at the Office of Judges."
Roush said despite all the controversy, her office has a dedicated staff of hardworking employees who didn’t waiver in their professionalism during this hectic time.
"I am hopeful that I can move forward now with the administration down a new path of mutual respect, and that we can discuss ways we can make positive changes for workers compensation litigants in the future," Roush said.
In August, a criminal complaint was filed against Workman in Kanawha County Magistrate Court. The complaint alleged that probable cause was found and that a warrant was issued for Workman on Aug. 19. Workman was arrested at the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner that same day and suspended without pay following the arrest.
Workman, who oversaw the mail room and secretarial staff, applied for a position as the insurance program manager but did not receive the job. She filed a grievance, citing favoritism. Workman had filed three other grievances previously as well.
In December 2017, a Facebook message was sent to Workman that allegedly appeared to be from Roush stating: "Wrong woman. I don't lose."
According to the criminal complaint, based on Senior Trooper M.D. Strobbe's investigation, it was discovered that the IP address subscribed to by Workman via Suddenlink was utilized to send the message to via a fake Facebook account.
After the message was brought to former West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Allan McVey's attention, he suspended Roush without pay. The Industrial Council voted not to remove Roush.
When Roush was made aware of the Facebook message back in December, she referred the matter to the West Virginia Offices of Technology for an investigation. Roush then took the matter to the West Virginia State Police, who investigated the matter.
Roush has continually denied she sent the Facebook message and fought to have the hearing before the Industrial Council in March 2018. After that hearing, she was allowed to return to work.