An unnamed sexual assault victim employed at the CIA sued the agency alleging it illegally tried to block her from making a criminal complaint against her assailant.
The woman, a trainee, says the CIA engaged in “criminal witness tampering” and violated multiple laws as it tried to prevent her from seeking justice against her attacker, a fellow trainee, according to the complaint, first reported by Politico. After the woman reported the attack, the CIA also blocked a protective order from local law enforcement and warned of “consequences” for testifying to Congress under protected whistleblower status amid a larger investigation into sexual assault at the agency, the complaint alleges.
“CIA repeatedly and improperly sought to dissuade her from lodging a criminal complaint — to the point of criminal witness tampering — and also ordered her to make false statements to law enforcement,” the complaint states.
The complaint says the CIA violated the Privacy Act by disclosing the plaintiff’s personal information held in agency records to the alleged assailant’s defense counsel and tried to spread a rumor about her participation in an extramarital affair, all to prevent her from testifying.
And, after the unnamed woman spoke to Congress during the investigation on mishandling of sexual assault at the agency, the human resources office looked at her “time-and-attendance records.” Discrepancies in the work logs can be used to discipline or oust “disfavored” employees, according to the complaint.
In August, the CIA’s public affairs office pulled her aside to explain The Associated Press was deliberating whether to publish her real name in a story about the lawsuit against her attacker, according to the complaint. Her career would have ended had her identity been disclosed, lawyers said. But, the AP does not publish the names of sexual assault victims, so the threat was untrue, the complaint said.
“More broadly, CIA continues to take concerns about our handling of employee allegations of sexual assault and harassment extremely seriously, and we have already taken significant steps in this regard,” a CIA spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are focused on instilling in all officers a culture of duty to act, and ensuring they know they are encouraged to report any incidents of sexual assault to law enforcement authorities.”
Three CIA employees approached the House Intelligence Committee between January and April with accusations of rampant mishandling of sexual assault instances and attempting to dissuade victims from lodging complaints, Politico reported. The committee called for an “immediate investigation” into the situation.
Kevin Carroll, who represents one of victims, told Politico the woman told him at least 54 other female CIA employees have become victims of sexual harassment or assault over the past decade and that their cases were not handled properly.
The AP reported in August that a CIA trainee, Ashkan Bayatpour, was convicted of a state misdemeanor charge of assault and battery for sexual misconduct at the agency.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org