IG: Prosecution Was Declined for Senior DOJ Official Who Sexually Assaulted a Subordinate

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 25, 2019 | 4:00pm EST
An exterior wall at the Justice Department headquarters. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)

(CNSNews.com) - A senior Justice Department official working in the Office of Justice Programs pressured one subordinate "into a sexual relationship with him in exchange for a promotion," "sexually harassed two other subordinates," "sexually assaulted" yet another subordinate, and then “lacked candor” with the Office of the Inspector General when the IG investigated these matters, according to an investigative summary published by the IG.

The unnamed prosecutor or prosecutors to whom the IG referred this case, however, declined to prosecute the senior Justice Department official.

Instead, the man was allowed to retire.

When asked by CNSNews.com, the Justice Department would not say whether this former senior official is now receiving a federal pension or has been allowed to keep a security clearance.

“The Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated this investigation upon the receipt of information alleging that a senior Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) official sexually harassed and retaliated against female subordinates, and abused his authority by coercing female employees in his chain of command to have sex with him,” the IG’s investigative summary said.

“The OIG investigation substantiated that the senior DOJ official (1) sexually harassed one subordinate when he pressured her into a sexual relationship with him in exchange for a promotion,” said the summary, “(2) sexually harassed another subordinate when he made repeated verbal sexual advances to her and ultimately sexually assaulted her; and (3) sexually harassed two other subordinates by engaging in sexually inappropriate conduct toward them.

[The passage above from the IG's investigative summary cites the IG's conclusion that a senior DOJ official "sexually assaulted" a subordinate.]

“The OIG concluded that the senior DOJ official’s actions constituted ethical misconduct, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, all in violation of law, federal regulations and DOJ policy,” said the summary, which was released on Dec. 4.

“The OIG further found that the senior DOJ official’s conduct constituted sexual harassment of the subordinate with whom he engaged in a long term relationship,” said the summary. “The senior DOJ official’s and the subordinate’s respective professional positions undermined the consensual nature of their personal relationship.”

The summary said that this senior official in the nation’s top law enforcement agency “lacked candor” when discussing these matters with the OIG.

“The OIG further found that the senior DOJ official lacked candor in his statements to the OIG,” said the summary.

Even though the inspector general concluded that this senior DOJ official’s actions were “in violation of law,” the prosecutor or prosecutors to whom the IG referred the case decided not to prosecute this senior official.

“Criminal prosecution of the senior DOJ official was declined,” the summary said.

“The senior DOJ official retired from his position,” said the summary.

CNSNews.com asked the Department of Justice the following four questions: 1) To which prosecutor was this case referred? 2) Why did the prosecutor decline to prosecute this senior DOJ official? 3) Is this DOJ official—who, the summary says, “retired”—receiving a federal pension? 4) Was this DOJ official allowed to retain a security clearance after he retired?

The Justice Department indicated it does not comment on investigative referrals that do not result in public charges and that it also does not comment on personnel matters or the security clearances of specific individuals.

Kerri Kupec, the DOJ’s Director of Public Affairs, made clear that the department “does not tolerate” what the IG concluded this senior official did.

“The Department of Justice does not tolerate sexual harassment, abuse, or assault in the workplace in any form,” Kupec said. “As the findings stated, the official accused of this conduct is no longer employed by the department. The department is committed to cooperating with state and local authorities to ensure these matters are investigated fully and expeditiously, and will take appropriate action against those who engage in this wholly unacceptable behavior.”

The Department of Justice has previously told CNSNews.com that when an inspector general finds reasonable grounds that there has been a violation of federal law, the IG is required by law to refer the matter to a prosecutor

“When the IG develops reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of federal criminal law, the IG is required by the IG Act to refer the matter to a prosecutor,” a DOJ spokesperson previously told CNSNews.com.

“The IG presents their cases directly to the prosecuting offices, and the prosecutors make the decisions about whether to accept or decline cases for prosecution,” said the spokesperson. “Those decisions are made looking at the law and the facts.”

“The process by which a particular prosecuting office is chosen varies, and is primarily determined by the location where the alleged offense occurred, i.e., the proper venue for a prosecution,” said the spokesperson. “There are instances in which the Department, through the ODAG [Office of the Deputy Attorney General], determines to what USAO [U.S. Attorney Office] we present our case, i.e., when a particular office may have a conflict and needs to be recused from handling the case.”

The law in question states: “the Inspector General shall report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of Federal criminal law.”

The DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General’s latest “Semiannual Report to Congress,” which covers the period from April 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018, says that the IG's "Investigations Division is responsible for investigating allegations of bribery, fraud, abuse, civil rights violations, and violations of other cimrinal laws and administrative procedures governing DOJ employees, contractors and grantees."

The report says that during the period from April 1 through September 30 of last year, the "Investigative Division closed 141 criminal or administrative misconduct cases, and its work resulted in 29 convictions or pleas and 103 terminations, administrative disciplinary actions, and resignations."

 

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