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AP report details accounts of sexual misconduct among senior ranks of FBI

Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 10, 2020

WASHINGTON — An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six sexual misconduct allegations involving senior FBI officials over the past five years, including two new claims brought this week by women who say they were sexually assaulted by ranking agents.

The AP found several of the accused FBI officials were quietly transferred or retired, keeping their full pensions even when probes substantiated the sexual misconduct claims.

Beyond that, federal law enforcement officials are afforded anonymity even after the disciplinary process runs its course, allowing them to land on their feet in the private sector or even remain in law enforcement.

According to the AP's report, one FBI assistant director retired after he was accused of groping a female subordinate in a stairwell. Another official was found to have credibly harrassed eight employees, and another agent retired after he was accused of blackmailing an employee into sexual encounters.

"They're sweeping it under the rug," said a former FBI analyst who alleges in a new federal lawsuit that a supervisory special agent licked her face and groped her at a colleague's farewell party in 2017. "As the premier law enforcement organization that the FBI holds itself out to be, it's very disheartening when they allow people they know are criminals to retire and pursue careers in law enforcement-related fields."

"They need a #MeToo moment," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California. "It's repugnant, and it underscores the fact that the FBI and many of our institutions are still good ol’-boy networks. It doesn't surprise me that, in terms of sexual assault and sexual harassment, they are still in the Dark Ages."

In a statement, the FBI said it "maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment" and added that severe cases can result in criminal charges. The agency that the disciplinary process weighs "the credibility of the allegations, the severity of the conduct, and the rank and position of the individuals involved."

Read the Associated Press' entire investigation here.