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NASA Public Affairs Officer Arrested on Forgery Charges

One of NASA's Public Affairs Officers at Kennedy Space Center in Florida was arrested last week and charged with five felonies. Photo Credit: AmericaSpace / Julian Leek
One of NASA’s Public Affairs Officers at Kennedy Space Center in Florida was arrested last week and charged with five felonies. Photo Credit: AmericaSpace / Julian Leek

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – According to an article appearing in Florida Today, Candrea Thomas, one of NASA’s public affairs officers at the KSC press site, was arrested last week by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on felony charges stemming from her alleged attempts to cover up a 2006 DUI conviction. 

To conceal the DUI charge, Thomas is accused of using her personal printer to produce a forged driver’s license. She then allegedly used this document to operate government vehicles. Thomas was arrested at Kennedy Space Center at 5 p.m. on Dec. 20 and was back to work the very next day (Thomas posted a $10,000 bond to be released).

Thomas, 38, was charged with five third-degree felony charges of forgery involving public records.

Given the serious nature of the charges against her, the concern has been raised as to why she was allowed to return to work so quickly.

When astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested on charges she attacked her romantic rival on Feb. 5, 2007—a little over a month after the incident, on March 8 of that year—NASA ended its relationship with her. However, the fact that Nowak was an astronaut made her dismissal from NASA simpler than dismissing a non-astronaut.

Nowak was attached to NASA through the U.S. Navy. NASA did not need to wait for Nowak to be convicted before terminating her position with the space agency. Thomas, as a civil servant, is far more difficult to terminate. However, given the fact that Thomas was convicted of a DUI in 2006, a fact she apparently kept from NASA, it is unclear why this was not used as grounds for her dismissal.

Both Thomas and NASA have refused to comment on her arrest or the charges against her. A court date has yet to be assigned to Thomas. If convicted she faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

 

Written by Jason Rhian

Jason Rhian gained Bachelor’s Degrees in journalism and public relations from the University of South Florida and spent countless hours volunteering with NASA and other space groups to gain experience. He has interned with NASA twice. Once at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) press site in 2007 and with NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) in 2009.

Jason has worked with a number of space-related groups and events - including Google Lunar X-PRIZE team Omega Envoy, the 2009 International Space Development Conference and NASA's KSC press site. Jason has covered over 30 launches. His work has been published in Aviation Week & Space Technology, The Spaceport News and online with MSNBC.com, Space.com, SpaceRef.com, Spacevidcast.com, Universe Today and other websites.

Whereas some journalists are comfortable repurposing a press release and using imagery provided to them by the public relations arm of that organization – Jason has made a habit of getting behind the pre-approved announcements to cover the events first hand. He covered President Obama’s remarks live from Kennedy Space Center in April 2010. Jason also flew out to Utah to cover the test fire of Alliant Techsystems second test of the company’s Development Motor-2 (DM-2). More recently, he sat in the backseat of history, flying on NASA’s Shuttle Training Aircraft with STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson as he trained for the last mission of the space shuttle era during the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT).

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