- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A contract worker for a national military records repository in Missouri pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal felony count alleging he mutilated or destroyed dozens of the records.

Peter Panouzis, 31, of East Alton, Illinois, faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced in December on the count of destruction of public records.

Federal prosecutors say Panouzis was hired by Ancestry.com to help the St. Louis-based National Personnel Records Center digitize World War II-era Selective Service records, including draft registration cards and their attachments.

Investigators say that instead of scanning and digitizing the records, Panouzis on two days last March mutilated or destroyed records of 50 or more people, stuffing torn pieces into his work gloves and discarding them in bins and trash cans.

The misconduct surfaced on March 12, when an archives technicians asked by Panouzis to toss out a glove and contents of a bin and trash can near Panouzis’ desk found the remnants of archived records and told a supervisor.

When the charges were announced in March, officials said the employee had been warned about productivity and was trying to deal with a stack of draft card attachments, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/1JQNIyh ).

Panouzis’ lawyer, Matthew Radefeld, said Panouzis suffers from anxiety and was feeling pressured by supervisors’ demands.

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