A longtime Erie County employee has been asked to retire after a woman saw him masturbating while driving.
James Maloney, 64, an engineering technician at the environmental services department, was charged with public indecency Aug. 14 after admitting to Erie County Sheriff's deputies he had been masturbating while driving his personal car during a lunch break Aug. 5 in Huron.
Maloney, a Sandusky resident, has worked for the county for more than 30 years. He earns $21.56 an hour and is eligible for retirement, according to county documents.
An 18-year-old Vermilion woman told deputies an overhead visor in a gold Ford Taurus was pointed at the lap of the driver, who wasn't wearing pants.
When a detective questioned Maloney, he initially said he was changing into his shorts while driving because he was headed to the beach.
He then admitted he was masturbating after the detective told him the caller had witnessed it, according to the report.
Maloney pleaded not guilty to the first-degree misdemeanor, according to records.
County officials learned of the incident when they saw it in the Register's police blotter, according to an Aug. 31 pre-disciplinary report by Erie County human resources director Margaret Rudolph.
Rudolph's report said although Maloney was not in a county vehicle at the time, administrators should be concerned because it may have occurred during Maloney's work hours.
"Mr. Maloney alleges he was on his lunch break during the time of the event," the letter stated, adding that his scheduled lunch break is noon to 12:30 p.m. and the incident reportedly occurred about 1 p.m. Maloney told county administrators his lunch hours vary.
Rudolph recommended a 10-day suspension, but a Sept. 4 letter Rudolph sent to Maloney said commissioners "expressed concern with the severity of this incident and (are) prepared to offer a separation agreement in lieu of termination."
Maloney received the 10-day unpaid suspension -- in effect Sept. 7 to Sept. 18 -- as well as a paid leave from Sept. 21 to Dec. 31. He plans to use his vacation and sick time to carry him through to Dec. 31 and then retire.