- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2020

The Justice Department inspector general concluded that a senior FBI official sexually harassed eight subordinates and misled investigators probing the claims.

It is the latest claim of sexual harassment lodged against the bureau, which is already contending with lawsuits by 17 former trainees raising similar accusations.

The inspector general’s investigation revealed the official, who then was an FBI special agent in charge, violated several policies prohibiting sexual harassment and workplace relationships, according to the one-page report released Friday.

Although the report said the official is no longer a special agent in charge (SAC), it is unclear whether he still works at the FBI. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the individual’s employment status.

The official, who is not named in the report, sexually harassed at least six subordinates while serving as a SAC and harassed two more subordinates in a previous position as a section chief at the FBI headquarters in Washington, the report said.



Investigators also say the official failed to report an intimate relationship with a subordinate and created a hostile work environment when the relationship ended. The official was also found to have lacked candor during an interview with inspector general’s investigators, the report said.

“The OIG investigation also found that the SAC violated the Department of Justice’s zero-tolerance policy with respect to sexual harassment,” the inspector general wrote in the report.

The case has been turned over to the FBI for “appropriate action,” although it is not known if the bureau will take any further steps.

An FBI spokeswoman said the bureau is aware of the report, but declined to comment because it is a “sensitive personnel matter.”

“The FBI takes allegations of misconduct seriously and is committed to fostering a work environment where all our employees are valued and respected,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to The Washington Times.

“As an organization we do not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. The FBI is thoroughly and objectively reviewing this personnel matter in order to determine appropriate disciplinary action,” it said.

The report is the latest embarrassment for the bureau which is currently battling accusations of political bias and misconduct over its investigation into President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In addition to the questions of partisanship, the FBI has also been besieged by claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Last month, the Justice Department inspector general revealed a then-FBI assistant director had made unwanted sexual advances on a subordinate, including “inappropriate touching” following an after-work happy hour event.

The bureau is also engaged in a court battle with 17 former and current FBI cadets, who sued the agency for what they claim is gender discrimination, hostile work environment and sexual harassment at its training facility in Quantico, Virginia.

A 2017 report by the Justice Department inspector general found sexual harassment and misconduct is a “systemic” issue across the department, which oversees the FBI. It was the fourth report in the last five years the inspector general released on sexual harassment at the Justice Department.

The Justice Department responded by forming a working group led by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It issues a series of directives to ensure the department metes out “serious and consistent” punishments to those found to have committed sexual harassment.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide