By Emily Gersema
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 30, 2009
The search for intelligent life apparently has stopped for Brad
Higley Unified School District records obtained by The Arizona Republic
show that Niesluchowski, of Gilbert, resigned in October after an
investigation into suspicious activity, including the use of a program
that searches satellite signals for extraterrestrial life.
According to the documents, district officials said they found
Niesluchowski had abused his authority in purchasing and oversight of
district technology and equipment, and downloaded to every district
computer a University of California-Berkeley program that relies on
volunteers and their personal computers to search satellite-collected
data for signs of intelligent life in outer space.
Higley officials so far estimate the damages, energy usage and equipment
losses linked to Niesluchowski at $1.2 million to $1.6 million.
District administrators hand-delivered a notice of termination of
contract for cause to Niesluchowski on Oct. 7, which he refused to sign.
He instead consulted an attorney, and then resigned at the attorney's
According to the termination letter, Niesluchowski faces several
allegations that he violated the terms and responsibilities of his
contract and ethics policies - and is the focus of a criminal
investigation. Documents show:
* During a warranted search of his home earlier this fall, Gilbert
police found 18 computers and other equipment stolen from the
* District officials said they learned Niesluchowski never installed
firewalls that would protect students' and staff members' personal
information from hackers, exposing district computer and data to
potential tampering or damage.
* District officials also say he failed to train and supervise other
* Officials allege he downloaded to every district computer a University
of California-Berkeley program known as "SETI@home." SETI is short for
the "Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence."
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