College employee that pleaded guilty to child porn charges still getting paid

A man who pleaded guilty to charges of possession of child porn in September is still receiving paychecks from Green River Community College.

Green River Community College spokesperson Vickie Sheehan told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson that they're trying to work within the law, determining action to take against the employee, Benjamin Gran, who's been on leave since the charges were filed.

"My understanding is, it simply, it's a legal matter. We're being directed by the state rules and regulations and laws and working diligently with our Assistant Attorney General," said Sheehan.

"What law are we talking about? He pleaded guilty to child porn, and we're still paying him. What law requires that we do so?" Dori asked.

"All I know is we're following our legal due diligence," said Sheehan. "I know we have to take into consideration union regulations as well. He's a represented employee, so we have to follow those rules and guidelines as well."

As a taxpayer, Dori said it seems crazy that even after the employee pleads guilty, the school can't cut ties with him.

"My understanding is that we have to wait until the sentencing that is scheduled for sometime in January or February," said Sheehan.

But Gran's union, the Washington Federation of State Employees, said it's up to the school to decide what action to take against an employee.

"It's totally up to Green River to either be aggressive or cautious about taking action," Greg Devereux, WFSE's executive director, told Dori.

"We follow the process outlined in our contractual relationship with Green River Community College," said Devereux. "If they follow that process. If they had followed it and they had done something in September or October, this case would have been over potentially. But that didn't happen. The pre-disciplinary hearing didn't happen until November, and they haven't made a decision what they're going to do yet."

Even though Gran pleaded guilty in September, Devereux said the union still has a legal obligation to defend its members.

"So if Green River follows whatever protocol they need to, to get rid of this guy today, would you guys fight it?" Dori asked.

"(It) depends on how they did it. If they followed all the requirements of the contract, probably not," said Devereux. "If there's a grievance filed, it comes to our statewide committee. Frequently, they will say we're not taking that case forward, the person was responsible for the actions, and there's nothing we can do."

"The pre-disciplinary meeting was Nov. 1. They will make a decision soon about what they're going to do," said Devereux. "When they make that decision, we then say to ourselves, we monitor the process, and say they did it all correctly, there's nothing we can do or he did not receive due process, and we'll defend him in these ways."

Dori still can't believe Gran is being paid after he's already pleaded guilty.

"I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that we are paying a weekly salary to a child porn guy who has confessed," said Dori.


Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
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