Several high-ranking male FBI officials were accused of sexual misconduct against employees, an Associated Press reported Wednesday.
At least six allegations of sexual misconduct, including assault, over the last five years have been levied against senior FBI officials, the AP investigation found. The officials at least appear to have dodged discipline, the AP reported.
“They’re sweeping it under the rug,” a former FBI analyst who asked to only be identified by her first name, Becky, said. She said she was licked on the face and groped by a supervisory special agent in 2017, the AP reported.
Becky said she was threatened by the same man at least twice before and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the FBI.
“As the premier law enforcement organization that the FBI holds itself out to be, it’s very disheartening when they allow people they know are criminals to retire and pursue careers in law enforcement-related fields,” the former analyst said, the AP reported.
‘Sweeping it under the rug:’ Sexual misconduct allegations shakes FBI’s senior ranks: https://t.co/zzzzGLgdBy
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) December 10, 2020
Several of the officials were transferred or retired, with their pensions and benefits intact despite probes corroborating the claims, according to the AP. Federal law enforcement officials who are disciplined typically don’t see an impact in their professional life since they are granted anonymity.
Advocacy groups and Congress have pushed for protections for employees who report misconduct and suggested that an outside agency should review the disciplinary cases, the AP reported.
“They need a #MeToo moment,” Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier said, according to the AP. “It doesn’t surprise me that, in terms of sexual assault and sexual harassment, they are still in the Dark Ages.”
The FBI “maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment” and claims have resulted in supervisors being removed from positions, the bureau said in a statement, according to the AP. Severe cases may result in criminal charges, and investigations include “the credibility of the allegations, the severity of the conduct, and the rank and position of the individuals involved,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, 17 women in a federal lawsuit are claiming systemic sexual harassment at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia, the AP reported.
An anonymous, female former FBI employee said in the lawsuit that a special agent in charge “imprisoned, tortured, harassed, blackmailed, stalked and manipulated” her into multiple “non-consensual sexual encounters” and never faced disciplinary action before retiring in 2016, the AP reported.
Another woman told federal investigators that the former assistant director of the Insider Threat Office, Roger Stanton, drunkenly drove a female employee home, then groped her in her apartment building’s stairwell, according to an inspector general report obtained by the AP.
And James Hendricks, the former special agent in charge of the office in Albany, New York, sexually harassed eight FBI subordinates, according to the IG, the AP reported. Hendricks was not named in the IG report, but was later identified by a local newspaper and confirmed by the AP.
The AP noted that its investigation did not cover FBI officials who didn’t report romantic relationships with subordinates.
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