A new inspector general report shows that Obama’s Department of Justice faced and mishandled a staggering amount of sexual harassment complaints. These “systemic” problems should have been handled with “high-level action,” but were treated improperly.
The IG accuses the DOJ of mishandling complaints. Supervisors either did nothing or given little discipline. Many accused employees later received bonuses or awards for their performance. Over the last five years, the amount of sexual misconduct allegations has gone up.
“The cases examined by the IG’s office include a U.S. attorney who had a sexual relationship with a subordinate and sent harassing texts and emails when it ended; a Civil Division lawyer who groped the breasts and buttocks of two female trial attorneys; and a chief deputy U.S. marshal who had sex with “approximately” nine women on multiple occasions in his U.S. Marshals Service office, according to investigative reports obtained by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request.
“’We’re talking about presidential appointees, political appointees, FBI special agents in charge, U.S. attorneys, wardens, a chief deputy U.S. marshal, a U.S. marshal assistant director, a deputy assistant attorney general,’ Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in an interview.
“In his report, the IG wrote that a senior, supervisory attorney in the Office of Immigration Litigation, Victor Lawrence, groped the breasts and buttocks of two female trial attorneys and made sexually charged comments to them at an office happy hour. Lawrence, whose name was redacted from the report but who was identified by people familiar with the incidents, had previously received a reprimand and diminution of title for sending emails of a sexual nature to co-workers.”
Another horrible example details a pervert who secretly watch women pumping breast milk:
“A third attorney, even after being counseled about inappropriate behavior toward female co-workers and interns, allegedly ‘peered’ through high windows into the offices of two different women who had closed their doors while they were pumping breast milk, according to an IG report. The attorney caught peeping told his supervisor that it was “an honest mistake,” an explanation the supervisor accepted, the IG report said. The matter was not fully investigated, the inspector general found, and the attorney was verbally counseled. He is still working in the Office of Immigration Litigation. His alleged behavior became such an issue that some women at the Justice Department have taped wrapping paper over the windows outside their offices.
“All three Civil Division attorneys received performance awards after their misconduct, the report said.”
There are other stories in the Washington Post report that are just as chilling. It appears there are too many incidents to mention. Many of these cases went on for years before they were even addressed. And when some of them were assessed, the perpetrators got a slap on the wrist or nothing at all.
Sadly, these stories of sexual misconduct are all too common in government. Let’s hope shedding light on them will result in action.