Judge: Former Des Moines Superintendent Emails Open Record

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A judge ruled Friday in the case of a former Des Moines school superintendent who was seeking to stop future releases of her work emails.

Judge Robert Hanson ordered against the injunction and said the Des Moines School District must produce the public documents as requested.

"It is therefore ordered that the requests of plaintiff and the individual intervenor for injunctive relief are DISMISSED and defendant the Des Moines Independent Community School District, as the legal custodian of the requested public records, shall produce same to the requesting parties, including intervenor the Des Moines Register, pursuant to the provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 22," wrote Hanson.

The man who had been emailing Dr. Nancy Sebring had sought to keep his name private. Hanson ruled against that request.

"It is further ordered that the individual intervenor's request to proceed pseudonymously is hereby denied as moot," wrote Hanson.

The man, known only as "Interested Party" in court documents said his life would be ruined if his name weren't kept confidential.

"So far as the court can tell, in this case it would be impossible to determine the consequences of requiring the individual intervenor to proceed under his/her own name. The court does not dispute that he/she will suffer personal embarrassment. However, any attempt to more precisely predict the consequences would be pure speculation. For this reason, the court concludes that the public's interest in the openness of judicial proceedings outweighs any privacy right of the individual intervenor," said Hanson.

Sebring resigned from the Des Moines School District to take a new job in Omaha last month. Her work emails, some containing sexually explicit exchanges with a man, were released by the district.

The emails were discovered while district staff worked to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request.

Sebring resigned from the Omaha job after the emails were disclosed.
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