By Robert Patrick
Copyright 2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS -- More than 1,800 personnel records for U.S. veterans were destroyed or misfiled by two student employees of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis County, federal criminal court documents show.
One of the student employees, Lonnie Halkmon, 28, was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service. The other, Stanley Engram, 21, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 7. Both pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of destruction of government records and faced probation to six months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
Engram's guilty plea says that 241 military records were found in the woods near the center on July 3, 2012, with 300 names and Social Security numbers visible on the documents.
The records were traced to Engram, who admitted disposing of the records found in the woods, “abandoning” files in the center and throwing them away at home. In all, he admitted destroying or purposely misfiling more than 1,000 records.
Halkmon's plea says that after an “incident,” the center conducted an audit of all records assigned to employees in 2011 and 2012.
From Dec. 7, 2011 to March 28, 2012, over 1,200 files were assigned to Halkmon, and 850 were reported missing.