Summer Worden was served on April 6 with a sealed criminal indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Houston, charging her with making false statements about her former spouse NASA astronaut Anne McClain.
“This is what happens when you try and fight the mob,” Worden says.
“The NASA Inspector General has no interest in justice and is there solely to cover up for misbehaving astronauts. They never even talked to me in person. They refused to send me a copy of their completed investigation.”
Summer Worden was in the heat of a nasty divorce and custody fight with Anne McClain when the astronaut logged into Worden’s personal bank account from the International Space Station. Worden filed a complaint with the NASA Inspector General after learning about McClain’s actions. The indictment claims Worden lied when she said she had changed the login information to keep McClain from seeing the information and lied about the dates the bank account was even created.
“The bizarre notion that it was okay for the woman trying to steal my son to look into my personal bank account that was set up after the divorce started is absurd. What person going through a divorce wants their spouse spying on them?” says Worden.
“This is pay back because NASA doesn’t like to be embarrassed.”
The notorious secrecy of the U.S. space agency reemerged as an issue after the international news coverage of Anne McClain and the possibility of the first crime committed in space.
The NASA Office of the Inspector General denied a request by Dolcefino Consulting to look at any completed investigations of astronauts to protect privacy interests of third parties. The agency also refused to provide us with a completed copy of their investigation in this case.
“This agency is given tens of billions of dollars from taxpayers every year and that makes them accountable to the public, period,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
“The OIG’s job is not to protect NASA from scandal. It is to protect the public.”
Summer Worden will likely have to seek court appointed counsel after spending nearly $150,000 in legal fees during the fight over her son Briggs. Worden had the boy before she met and married Anne McClain but the NASA astronaut waged a war to get custody of Worden’s child. McClain dropped the custody fight but 309th District Court Judge Linda Dunson has never signed the final requests to drop the case.
NASA is refusing to release records of any investigations into their astronauts.
The secrecy of the U.S. space agency has reemerged as an issue after the international news coverage of a possible crime committed on the International Space Station by Astronaut Anne McClain. McClain was accused of hacking her wife’s banking information during a nasty custody fight.
Dolcefino Consulting requested five years of completed investigative reports in a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The NASA Office of Inspector General says in their mission statement that they, “independently report to the Administrator, Congress, and the public,” and that the Office of Investigations, “investigates allegations of crime, cyber-crime, fraud, abuse or misconduct having an impact on NASA programs, personnel and resources.”
In a letter dated November 8, 2019, James Ives, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations denied our request for any completed investigations to protect the “privacy interest of third parties.”
“This agency is given tens of billions of dollars from taxpayers every year and that makes them accountable to the public, period,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The OIG’s job is not to protect NASA from scandal, but to protect the public.”
NASA has not been immune from scandal. In 2007, Astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested in Florida and charged with attempted kidnapping, burglary with assault and battery.
The fight between Summer Worden and Astronaut Anne McClain became national news this year. McClain dropped her attempt to gain rights for a child that was born before the couple met, but Judge Dunson has refused to sign the order ending the dispute.
It has been more than a month since Judge Dunson got a simple order to sign and she has refused. “We think the judge is abusing the power of her office to punish Summer for speaking out about decisions in that court,” says Dolcefino. “Summer is having to fight courthouse retaliation and NASA secrecy at the same time and that is outrageous for this mother.”
The OIG has failed to disclose the status of the McClain investigation. The media has described the allegations against her as the first possible crime in space.
“If the OIG tries to hide the results of its work, we may be forced to go to federal court to let the sunshine in,” says Dolcefino.
NASA is investigating a claim that
an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the
International Space Station (ISS), in what may be the first allegation of a
crime committed in space.
The New York Times
reports that Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but
denies any wrongdoing.
Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden,
reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Anne McClain has since returned to
She told the New York Times through a lawyer that she was merely making sure
that the family’s finances were in order and there was enough money to pay
bills and care for Summer Worden’s son – who they had been raising together
prior to the split.
Her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said: “She strenuously denies that she did
anything improper,” adding that Ms McClain was “totally
Anne McClain and Summer Worden, who
is an Air Force intelligence officer, married in 2014 and Worden filed for
divorce in 2018.
Investigators from NASA’s Office of
Inspector General have contacted both over the allegation, the New York Times reported.
Anne McClain graduated from the
prestigious West Point military academy and flew more than 800 combat hours
over Iraq as an Army pilot. She went on to qualify as a test pilot and was
chosen to fly for NASA in 2013.
The astronaut spent six months
aboard the ISS and had been due to feature in the first all-female spacewalk,
but her role was canceled at the last minute over what NASA said was a problem
with availability of correct suit sizes.
There are five national or
international space agencies involved in the ISS – from the US, Canada, Japan,
Russia and several European countries – and a legal framework sets out that
national law applies to any people and possessions in space.
So, if a Canadian national were to
commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian
citizen to Russian law.
Space law also sets out provisions
for extradition back on Earth, should a nation decide it wishes to prosecute a
citizen of another nation for misconduct in space.
As space tourism becomes a reality,
so might the need to prosecute space crime, but for now the legal framework
NASA officials told the New York Times that they were not aware of any crimes committed on the space station.
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