6 Michigan state employees charged criminally in Flint water crisis

FLINT, Mich., July 29 (UPI) — Six Michigan state employees were criminally charged Friday morning with misconduct in office for their alleged roles in the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employees Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller and Robert Scott, and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Liane Shekter-Smith, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook each faces charges that also include willful neglect of duty related to allegedly concealing or disregarding blood test results with high lead levels in Flint residents.

Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office said Peeler and Scott’s charges are based on a report by epidemiologist Cristin Larder that showed elevated lead levels in Flint residents in July, August and September 2015.

Investigators found Scott and Peeler, who work in the state health department’s childhood lead poisoning prevention program, created a “non-scientific” graph that “inappropriately concluded that the switch in water sources was not the cause of elevated lead levels in Flint children.”

“Scott and Peeler conspired together and with others known and unknown to effectively bury Larder’s report warranting further investigation,” Seipenko said in court. “Defendants Peeler and Scott’s failure to disclose Larder’s report was to the detriment of the health and welfare of the citizens of Flint.”

Schuette and Todd Flood, who is heading the AG’s investigation, were expected to hold a news conference later Friday.

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