The FBI is rocked by cover-up of sex crimes

An assistant FBI director withdrew after being accused of groping a subordinate on a ladder when he was drunk.

Miami World / AP

Another senior official left when it was found that he had sexually harassed eight female employees. Another high-ranking officer withdrew after being accused of blackmailing a young employee to obtain sex.

An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six sex crime allegations involving members of the FBI in the past five years, including two new allegations filed this week by women who said they were sexually assaulted by higher-ranking officers.

All of the accused officers appeared to have avoided disciplinary action, the AP found, and several were quietly transferred or withdrawn, keeping their pensions and benefits in full even as investigations supported the sex crime allegations against them.

Furthermore, federal security officers have the right to anonymity even after the disciplinary process is completed, allowing them a graceful exit to the private sector or even continuing to work in the security forces.

“He’s being swept under the rug,” said a former FBI analyst who alleges, in a new federal lawsuit, that a supervising special agent licked her face and groped her at a colleague’s going away party in 2017.

He ended up leaving the FBI and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“As the most important security organization, as the FBI prides itself on being, it is very discouraging that they let people who know they are criminals to retire and start careers in law enforcement related fields,” said the woman, who asked to be Identified only as Becky in this dispatch.

The AP count does not include the growing number of high-level supervisors at the FBI who have not reported romantic relationships with subordinates in recent years, a pattern that has alarmed investigators at the Office of the Inspector General and raised questions about the rules of engagement. the agency.

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Repeated sex crimes have drawn the attention of Congress and activist groups, who have called for legal protections for ordinary FBI employees who choose to speak out and for an independent body to review the agency’s disciplinary processes.

“It’s disgusting and underscores the fact that the FBI and many of our institutions are still ‘boy’s’ networks,” said US Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who has criticized the treatment of women in the FBI, a male-dominated institution. “It doesn’t surprise me that, when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, they are still in the Dark Ages.”

In a statement, the agency said it has “a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment” and said that various accusations against supervisors had led to the defendants being removed from their charges while the cases were investigated and punished.

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The AP’s analysis of court documents, reports from the Office of the Inspector General, and interviews with federal law enforcement agents identified at least six allegations against high-ranking officials, including an assistant director and six special agents in charge of regional offices. ranging from unwanted touching and sexual advances to coercion.

None appeared to have been sanctioned, although another sex crime allegation against a low-ranking officer, identified in the AP investigation, resulted in the defendant losing his security clearance.

The FBI, which has more than 35,000 employees, maintains a conspicuous secrecy surrounding these accusations.

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The last time the Office of the Inspector General did an in-depth investigation on the matter, it listed 343 “violations” of a sexual nature in the FBI between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, including three cases of “recordings of women undressed without consent.”

The new allegations come a few months after a 17th woman joined a federal class action lawsuit alleging systemic sexual harassment at the FBI’s training academy in Quantico, Virginia.

In one of the new lawsuits filed Wednesday, a former FBI employee identified only as “Jane Doe” alleged that a special agent withdrew in 2016 without penalty and opened a law firm even after she was “detained, tortured, harassed. , blackmailed, stalked and manipulated ”to force her into several“ non-consensual sexual encounters, ”including one in which he forced her into a car.

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The AP is not releasing the name and location of the accused special agent to protect the woman’s identity.

Becky, the former analyst, told the AP that in the past she had believed that the “organizational values ​​and mission” of the FBI were in line with the education she had received.

But she scrapped that idea after reporting to her superiors that Charles Dick, then a supervising special agent at the FBI Training Academy, had assaulted her at a going-away party.

Becky told the AP that her attacker had threatened her twice before and that her behavior was well known.

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Becky accused the former agent of wrapping his arms around her chest when posing for a photo and “reaching out and pretending” to penetrate her “with his fingers through her jeans.”

Dick rejected the accusations and was acquitted in a state court in Virginia by a judge who called it “completely unbelievable” that Becky “stood there and endured it and said nothing,” according to a transcript of the judicial process.

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