Niagara politician apologizes over pornographic image sent in mass email

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NIAGARA—Regional Chair Alan Caslin is calling for St. Catharines Coun. Andy Petrowski to resign after a pornographic image was sent out to a large number of people from the councillor’s regional email address on Monday.

Caslin called the incident “reprehensible,” and said he’s demanding Petrowski meet with him Tuesday morning to discuss limiting his use of regional email accounts and devices.

“I have spoken directly to the (councillor) about this egregious conduct, and have requested his resignation from regional council,” Caslin said.

Petrowski, who sparked widespread controversy late last year with a tweet that critics said had a link to a website with anti-Semitic material, was quick to apologize for the latest controversy. The image of a naked woman sitting on a chair was sent in error by someone who was using his iPad, he insisted.

The series of events began with an email from a regional staff member about lane closures on St. Paul St. West at the Burgoyne Bridge.

St. Catharines Coun. Bruce Timms then emailed to say it will be nice to see the final touches on the new bridge.

Petrowski then sent out an email about “multimillion dollar, taxpayer-funded, non-functional arches” with the image of the naked woman with her legs spread open.

The image was sent to people who receive regular road work updates from the region, including internal staff at the region, outside partners, and other regional politicians.

“I apologize to everyone for the previous email just sent … this was sent in error as a terrible message by someone who was using my iPad. I thought to send a private message,” Petrowski then emailed to the recipients. “I am very sorry for this unacceptable and inappropriate transmission.”

“The conduct is completely unacceptable for a regional councillor,” Caslin said in his statement. “As Regional Chair, I demand better when conducting business on behalf of the region.