Did state 'scapegoat' employee over TB outbreak?

A former health department employee says the agency made her a 'scapegoat' for the tuberculosis outbreak at a Greenwood County elementary school.

COLUMBIA (WACH/AP) -- A former health department employee says the agency made her a 'scapegoat' for the handling of a tuberculosis outbreak at a Greenwood County elementary school.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control and its director, Catherine Templeton, alleged Shea Rabley took too long in conducting the TB investigation at the school.

According to Rabley's attorney, Rabley was terminated because Templeton reported Rabley "screwed up" the investigation, was lethargic during the investigation, and was slow to respond.

"A TB contact investigation cannot be hastened simply because the DHEC Director wants it to be speeded up," Rabley said in a statement.

According to the lawsuit
(PDF), Shea Rabley is suing DHEC and Templeton for slander.

The lawsuit claims, "Templeton, figurativly speaking, threw Plaintiff [Rabley] and others under the bus in order to deflect criticism of her rather than defend the appropriate, within standards, conduct of her dedicated DHEC employees."

WACH Fox has reached out to DHEC for comment on the lawsuit and has yet to receive a response.

This suit is the latest of several filed since the tuberculosis outbreak at Ninety Six Primary School earlier this year.

In another lawsuit a former South Carolina health department nurse says Rabley tried to profit from the tuberculosis outbreak.

That lawsuit accuses Rabley of setting up a tuberculosis consulting business after the outbreak was detected at Greenwood County's Ninety Six Primary School.

The allegations are part of former DHEC nurse Latrinia Richard's lawsuit. Richard says she was wrongly fired after DHEC officials didn't heed her warnings about the outbreak.

Rabley's attorney, Ben Mabry, reports Richard intends to dismiss her case against Rabley in the near future.

Rabley considers Richard and and two other DHEC nurses as fellow victims of Templeton and DHEC's wrongful actions, which Rabley has alleged in her complaint.

Mabry, also adds that "If the allegations of Rabley's complaint are true, it means that the Director of DHEC, Catherine Templeton, not only failed to stand behind her own agency's employees who simply followed DHEC's written policies, but also failed to defend her own agency against unjustified criticism. If true, some might conclude, figuratively speaking, Director Templeton didn't just throw the four under the bus; she hopped right in and grabbed the wheel."

Other lawsuits accuse officials of unnecessarily exposing others to the person who was originally infected.

Since May, more than 600 people associated with the school have been tested for tuberculosis. Of those, 74 have tested positive for exposure to the disease, and a dozen have developed tuberculosis.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)