A longtime Montgomery County employee resigned this weekend after he was accused of sending hateful text messages on his county-issued cell phone.
William 'Joe' Sweeten worked as a computer analyst and programmer for Montgomery County for nearly 14 years. Sweeten is also running for register of deeds in the upcoming election. He submitted a resignation letter to his supervisor dated July 12.
"I am so busy with a political campaign at this time I am unable to manage my workload," Sweeten wrote. "I am receiving attacks politically which is to be expected and it is taking a toll."
But some people are pointing to vulgar text messages allegedly sent by Sweeten. Channel 4 obtained copies of the conversations with Sweeten's ex-girlfriend, who asked to remain anonymous.
In the messages, Sweeten refers to Janie Dixon, a supporter of Sweeten's opponent, Connie Gunnett.
"Maybe God will see fit to kill all her children while she watches," the message reads.
While county officials confirm the messages were sent from Sweeten's work phone, they can't prove Sweeten sent the messages himself, according to county spokesperson Elizabeth Black.
"He resigned before it was possible for things to be discussed," Black said via telephone Monday.
Another candidate, Scott Comperry, reported the messages to Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers on Saturday - the same day Sweeten signed his letter of his resignation and left his belongings on his desk.
Comperry is running for county commissioner. He claims Sweeten also bashed his family in these same texts after a disagreement.
"Children should be off limits in any campaign," Comperry said. "It's even more baffling, I tried helping him early in the campaign. I signed his petition to run."
Sweeten did not answer repeated phone calls or emails Monday. It appears Sweeten deactivated his campaign page on Facebook after Channel 4 contacted him for this story.
Janie Dixon said she fears for her children's lives after reading these messages.
"I made an innocent comment on a public forum and a man I hardly know verbally attacked me and my children," Dixon said. "I took it seriously and this whole affair has me concerned for the safety of my children that any mother would understand."
Sweeten said he will be starting a new law practice in September, according to his resignation letter.
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