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Below the rug: “ Sexual misconduct shakes prime FBI officers

WASHINGTON (AP) – An FBI deputy director has retired after being accused of groping a subordinate in a stairwell drunk. One other senior FBI official left after being found for sexually harassing eight workers. Yet one more high-ranking FBI agent retired after being accused of blackmailing a younger worker into intercourse.

An Related Press investigation has recognized a minimum of six allegations of sexual misconduct involving senior FBI officers prior to now 5 years, together with two new complaints filed this week by girls who say they have been sexually assaulted by brokers of rank.

Every of the accused FBI officers seem to have shied away from self-discipline, the AP concluded, and a number of other have been quietly transferred or retired, retaining all of their pensions and advantages, even when investigations have corroborated the allegations. sexual misconduct towards them.

Past that, federal legislation enforcement officers take pleasure in anonymity even after the disciplinary course of has ended, permitting them to land on their toes within the personal sector and even keep in legislation enforcement. the legislation.

“They’re sweeping it underneath the rug,” mentioned a former FBI analyst who alleges in a brand new federal trial {that a} particular supervisory agent licked her face and groped her at a farewell celebration. colleague in 2017. She finally left the FBI and was identified with post-traumatic stress dysfunction.

“As the primary legislation enforcement group that the FBI claims to be, it is rather disheartening to permit folks they know to be criminals to retire and pursue careers in law-related fields. legislation enforcement, ”mentioned the lady, who has requested to be recognized on this story solely by her first identify, Becky.

The AP’s tally doesn’t embrace the rising variety of high-level FBI supervisors who’ve did not report romantic relationships with their subordinates in recent times – a sample that has alarmed Workplace of Inspector Basic investigators and raised questions on workplace coverage.

The recurring sexual misconduct has come to the eye of Congress and advocacy teams, which have referred to as for whistleblower safety for core FBI workers and for an outdoor entity to assessment the workplace’s disciplinary circumstances.

“They want a #MeToo second,” mentioned U.S. Consultant Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who has criticized the remedy of girls within the male-dominated FBI.

“It is disgusting, and it underscores the truth that the FBI and plenty of of our establishments are nonetheless good outdated boy networks,” Speier mentioned. “It does not shock me that by way of sexual assault and sexual harassment, they’re nonetheless at the hours of darkness ages.”

In a press release, the FBI mentioned it “maintains a zero tolerance coverage for sexual harassment” and that complaints towards supervisors have resulted of their resignation whereas circumstances are reviewed and adjudicated.

He added that severe circumstances can lead to prison expenses and that the FBI’s inside disciplinary course of assesses, amongst different components, “the credibility of the allegations, the seriousness of the conduct, in addition to the rank and place of these concerned.”

The PA’s assessment of court docket information, stories from the Workplace of the Inspector Basic, and interviews with federal legislation enforcement officers recognized a minimum of six allegations towards senior officers, together with a deputy director and particular brokers accountable for all discipline places of work, which ranged from undesirable contact and sexual advances. to coercion.

None seem to have been disciplined, however one other allegation of sexual misconduct recognized within the PA’s assessment of a base officer precipitated them to lose their safety clearance.

The FBI, with greater than 35,000 workers, is preserving a notoriously tight lid on such allegations. The final time the Workplace of Inspector Basic carried out an in-depth investigation into sexual misconduct throughout the FBI, it recognized 343 “offenses” from fiscal years 2009 to 2012, together with three circumstances of “video of undressed girls with out consent. “.

The newest allegations come months after a seventeenth girl joined a federal lawsuit alleging systemic sexual harassment on the FBI’s coaching academy in Quantico, Virginia. This class motion lawsuit claims male FBI instructors made “sexually accused” feedback about girls needing to “take their contraception to manage their temper,” inviting the feminine interns into their properties and overtly denigrating them.

In one of many new lawsuits filed Wednesday, a former FBI worker recognized solely as “Jane Doe” alleged {that a} particular agent in cost in 2016 retired with out self-discipline and opened a legislation agency even after he “Jailed, tortured, harassed, sang, stalked and manipulated her into having a number of ‘non-consensual intercourse’, together with one through which he compelled himself on her in a automotive. The PA is withholding the identify and handle of the accused particular agent to guard the id of the lady.

“It’s the coverage and follow of the FBI and its BIG to permit senior executives accused of sexual assault to quietly retire with all the advantages with out prosecution,” mentioned the lady’s legal professional, David J. Shaffer, within the lawsuit.

One such case concerned Roger C. Stanton, who earlier than his abrupt retirement was deputy director of the Insider Risk Workplace, a division inside Washington headquarters tasked with eliminating leaks and defending nationwide safety info.

In keeping with an Inspector Basic’s report concluded this 12 months and obtained by AP by means of a public information request, Stanton has been charged with drunk driving a subordinate residence after an after-work pleased hour. The lady advised investigators that when inside a stairwell in her house constructing, Stanton wrapped her arm round her waist and “moved her hand over her butt” earlier than she might. escape and climb the steps.

After Stanton left, he referred to as the lady 15 instances on his FBI cellphone and despatched her what investigators described as “garbled textual content” complaining that he could not discover his car. The closely redacted report doesn’t say when the incident occurred.

Stanton disputed the lady’s account and advised investigators that he “had no intention of doing something” and had solely positioned his arm round her due to “the narrowness ”of the steps. However Stanton conceded that he was “very embarrassed by this occasion” and that “sub-directors should not put themselves in these conditions.”

Stanton retired on the finish of 2018 after investigation decided he sexually harassed the lady and sought an irregular relationship. He didn’t reply to AP’s requests for remark.

Earlier this 12 months, the Inspector Basic discovered that the particular agent accountable for the Albany, New York workplace, James N. Hendricks, had sexually harassed eight FBI subordinates.

Hendricks was additionally not named within the OIG report regardless of his findings. It was first recognized in September by the Albany Occasions Union. A present and a former colleague of Hendricks have confirmed his position within the case to AP.

Hendricks now writes a legislation enforcement weblog through which he touts his FBI accolades however makes no point out of the misconduct allegations. He didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Becky, the previous analyst, advised AP she as soon as believed “the organizational values ​​and mission of the FBI have been consistent with how I used to be introduced up.” However she was disillusioned with that notion after reporting to administration that Charles Dick, a particular supervisory agent on the FBI Coaching Academy on the time, sexually assaulted her at a farewell celebration.

Becky advised AP that her attacker had threatened her a minimum of twice earlier than. “As soon as, whereas we have been ready for the director, he mentioned, ‘I will contact your ass. You understand it should occur. “

“His impolite habits was well-known,” she added. “He bought away with the whole lot.”

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Becky accused the previous agent of wrapping her arm round her chest whereas posing for a photograph and “reaching out underneath her and faking” her penetration “together with her fingers. by means of his denims ”.

Dick denied the costs and was acquitted in Virginia state court docket by a decide who dominated “completely unbelievable” that Becky “would stand there and say nothing,” in response to a transcript of the proceedings. Dick retired from the FBI months earlier than the Inspector Basic adopted up on Becky’s inside criticism, Becky mentioned in her trial, including that she had confronted retaliation for coming ahead.

“It’s a lot simpler to undergo in isolation than to go public,” she advised AP. “But when I do not report it, I’m complicit within the cultural and institutionalized cover-up of any such habits.”

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AP reporter Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

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