A director at the Florida Department of Agriculture resigned abruptly after a woman reported he sent three pictures of his genitals to her a day after they met at a business meeting in Virginia.
An investigation into the actions of Travis Tucker, director of the division of fruit and vegetables at the agency, began Dec. 5, two days after the woman received the unsolicited images, according to a recently released report by the office of inspector general at the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Tucker resigned from his position three days later. He would have been fired for sexually harassing an employee who was conducting business with the Department of Agriculture, according to the report, which was released March 16.
Tucker, who was paid an annual salary of $90,300, oversaw 112 employees. He had worked at the agency in Bartow for three years.
Many of the details about the incident and investigation, such as where the woman works, were not released. The department first released a heavily redacted investigative report by Capt. Travis Eisenhauer of the office of the inspector general, earlier this month.
In response to a public records request from The Ledger, the department again released a redacted report that did not identify the woman who filed the complaint or where she worked. An entire paragraph was redacted in one section of the report.
The department cited an exemption that applies to criminal investigative information.
Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation in Florida, said that exemption does not apply.
“The exemption cited applies specifically to criminal investigative information and not to investigative reports by an inspector general,” Petersen wrote.
The report shows that Tucker traveled to Arlington, Va., on Dec. 1 for an Association of Fruit and Vegetable Inspection and Standardization Agencies meeting. The two met Dec. 2 and Tucker sent an “overly friendly” text message later that afternoon, according to the report. On Dec. 3, Tucker continued to send text messages, including three photos of his genitals.
On Dec. 4, Mike Joyner, assistant commissioner with the department, received the complaint. Four days later, during an interview with investigators, Tucker received a letter from Joey Hicks, chief of personnel management, telling him that he would be fired.
Tucker provided a statement, admitting that he sent the images from his personal phone and said he misinterpreted the woman’s text messages. He said he was going through personal issues at home, had “misinterpreted some things” and “this was me stepping way outside the lines.”
When interviewed, the woman said she thought it was odd that she received so much attention from Tucker. She said she assumed it was because her office would be working with Tucker in the near future, according to the report.
Later, Tucker made references to sending her a picture.
The woman told Tucker to “fire at will,” “thinking he would perhaps send a joke or ‘not politically correct’ image,” according to the report.
Tucker then sent three image files of his genitals with the message, “a few from this morning ;-)”.
The woman did not respond to the message.
Original article here.