Raleigh, N.C. — A judge ordered the State Highway Patrol to re-instate a trooper who was fired for having sex in his patrol car and at a district station with a woman who was not his wife.
Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter ordered the re-reinstatement of Monty Steven Poarch, an 18-year veteran who was based in Alexander County, because the Highway Patrol gave lesser punishments to troopers for similar charges.
Highway Patrol officials announced Saturday they will appeal the court order to reinstate Poarch.
"Poarch's actions while on duty as a state trooper are outrageous and unacceptable," Col. W. Fletcher Clay, commander of the Highway Patrol, said. "And we are disappointed in Judge Lassiter's decision in this case. In our opinion, it was the wrong decision to make."
Three other troopers received suspensions, demotions and transfers for sexual offenses similar to Poarch's. In his case, a Wake Superior Court judge and another administrative law judge ruled that courts can consider whether state agencies gave out equal discipline for similar infractions.
All these cases considered by the court, including Poarch's, happened before Clay assumed command of the patrol in 2004. Clay said he intends to take a strict stand against such conduct.
"All of these actions took place prior to my administration, and I want to make it clear that a strong stance against these types of actions is being taken," he said.
Poarch was fired in 2003 after Donna Lynne Kirby filed a complaint against him with the patrol's internal affairs investigators. Poarch later admitted to having sex with Kirby in his patrol car and at a district station, but denied it happened while he was on duty.
His recommended punishment was a 10-day suspension, but then-commander Richard Holden chose to terminate the trooper. Bryan Beatty, secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, upheld the firing.
Poarch is currently serving as a lieutenant in the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.