CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two leaders of the state's jail system told legislators Monday they don't know anything about any investigations into allegations that a surveillance device was found in the office of John Lopez, the state Regional Jail Authority's former chief of operations.
Neither Joe Thornton, secretary of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, nor Joe DeLong, executive director of the Regional Jail Authority, could explain emails exchanged by Lopez and FBI special agent Joe Ciccarelli regarding Lopez's inclusion in the federal Victim Notification System, which allows crime victims to track the status of any investigation or prosecution.
Lopez has said that he found a video recording device in the ceiling of his Virginia Street office in August.
In the e-mails, dated Aug. 15 and provided by committee co-chairman Delegate Dave Perry, D-Fayette, Ciccarelli advises Lopez, "Department of Justice guidelines will only allow me to discuss with you very limited information as to case status. However, I should be able to give you a more definitive status shortly."
DeLong, who was acting executive director of the Regional Jail Authority at the time, said the first knowledge he had of the alleged device was when he read about it in the papers. Lopez reportedly turned the device over to the FBI.
"It was not brought to my attention to be addressed," DeLong told legislators. "My knowledge of a device being removed from that office came from the media."
Sen. Bill Laird, D-Fayette, questioned why the authority did not conduct an internal investigation of the matter.
"If something shows up in my office, I'd want to know where it came from and who put it there," said Laird, a former Fayette County sheriff.
Earlier Monday, DeLong told legislators he was not compelled to act on "rumors, innuendo, and what's been in the press."