The notorious Indianapolis Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) manager who mocked the epidemic of veteran suicides has just had her license suspended.
After a vote, the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Board delivered their decision on Monday: a 90-day suspension. Robin Paul, a clinical social worker and manager at the Roudebush VA medical center, agreed to the penalty after discussing the issue with Attorney General Greg Zoeller, AP reports.
Zoeller’s office will continue the investigation, and additional findings could lead to more serious consequences for Paul.
When the incident first broke in March, the Roudebush center declined to state what sort of administrative action would be taken against Paul, but VA administrators quickly decided to suspend her. This new suspension announced on Monday represents a second slap on the wrist.
Earlier in March, Paul sent out an email showing an elf begging for pain medication after being denied a prescription for Xanax. In another case, the elf was shown hanging himself with an electrical cord. The elf is a stand-in for veterans who often struggle with problems like addiction and suicidal ideation. Administrators at the VA were aware of the emails for at least two months, only apologizing for them and taking administrative action after The Indianapolis Star and other outlets reported the incident (RELATED: VA Manager Makes Fun Of Veteran Suicides In Email)
“We hope it’s an isolated incident,” Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told The Indianapolis Star, after hearing about the emails. “We hope this person has been dealt with aggressively because we’re in the middle of a suicide problem.”
This suicide problem culminated in the passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on Feb. 12. The legislation is an attempt to bring down the astonishingly high suicide rate among veterans, which claims 22 lives a day.
At the time of the incident, other veterans’ groups were more direct, asking for Paul’s immediate dismissal, but although Paul hasn’t been fired, as of Monday she has received a double suspension.
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