The Environmental Protection Agency was forced to pay $55,000 to get an employee to retire because the EPA was unable to fire him, even though he was a convicted child molester who also imitated a police officer, officials testified Wednesday.

The settlement was discussed at a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on EPA employee misconduct Wednesday. Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said that was one of the most egregious cases of employee misconduct and misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Stan Meiburg, acting deputy administrator at the EPA, said the agency attempted to fire the employee but the Merit Systems Protection Board, which adjudicates personnel decisions, overturned the decision. Instead, the agency paid the employee $55,000 to retire and leave the agency, he said. That shocked Chaffetz.

"It's just pretty stunning," he said. "How do we need to change the Merit Systems Protection Board, because we're not protecting the American taxpayer and we're not protecting the employees who have to sit next to this freak of a pervert."

Patrick Sullivan, the assistant inspector general for investigations for the EPA's Office of the Inspector General, said there are currently 90 EPA employee misconduct cases pending. Fourteen of those have been turned over to the agency for review while the rest are in various stages of investigation.

Among the cases detailed during Thursday's hearing were an EPA contractor who admitted to watching pornography while on the job for one or two hours per day for 18 years before being fired, and an employee who stole thousands of dollars of office equipment and is still employed by the agency despite being convicted of theft, among others.

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