Indy VA manager resigns following email scandal

This photo provided by WISH TV depicts an elf hanging from Christmas lights by its neck. Reportedly, Robin Paul captioned the photo 'caught in the act of suicidal behavior.'

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A VA worker who sent emails apparently mocking mental health problems and veteran suicide has resigned.

Robin Paul voluntarily resigned on Tuesday and apologized in a statement.

Paul said she takes full responsibility for the incident but says the intent of the photos has been misrepresented.

She said that she has been harassed and threatened since the emails became public.

Via her lawyer, Paul released this statement:

The “elf” email I sent in December 2014 was to an internal staff email group following a clinic
holiday lunch party. I take full responsibility for sending the email; however, the intent of the
email and pictures has been misrepresented. My intent was not to mock Veterans; the intent was
to thank the team for their work in dealing with tough issues on a daily basis. The elf did not
represent a Veteran; it was a toy elf—nothing more. However, I understand how taken out of
context, the email and pictures could be misconstrued. I used poor judgment in sending out this

Since the initial press coverage, my family and I have been subjected to harassment and hostility.
I received death threats, my minor child was harassed, and we had to seek police protection. In
the best interest of the VA and my family, I voluntarily agreed to a temporary summary suspension
of my license pending further investigation.

Even though I have had an excellent work history with the VA, my career with the VA is
effectively over as a result of this incident and the resulting public and political pressure.
Accordingly, on April 7, 2015, I voluntarily resigned from the VA. I am truly sorry to our Veterans
and anyone else who I offended by my actions– that was not my intent. I seek the public’s
forgiveness, and I respectfully request that the public refrain from directing further hatred and
hostility toward me, my family or the VA.

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