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Report Suggests Justice Department Mishandled Sexual Misconduct Cases

justice-dept-photo-with-woman-and-court1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has mishandled sexual harassment and misconduct cases because of sloppy management, according to the department’s Office of Inspector General.

“We identified significant weaknesses in the Civil Division’s tracking, reporting, and investigating of the 11 sexual harassment and misconduct allegations that we reviewed” during fiscal 2011-2016, the report said, “as well as inconsistencies among penalties imposed for substantiated allegations.”

The report, revealed by the Washington Post, suggests that the Justice Department acted like the Catholic Church did when a suspected pedophile priest was reassigned to a new parish: The offenders were “flushed” to other offices.

In another case, a male attorney accused of spying on two female lawyers who were pumping breast milk was absolved by his male supervisor.

“The investigation into the allegation consisted of the male attorney’s supervisor speaking with him,” according to the report. “Thereafter, his supervisor accepted the male attorney’s explanation of the incident as an honest mistake and imposed on him an informal disciplinary action of oral counseling.”

The treatment of attorneys suspected of sexual misconduct left many women with the impression that the accused were lightly punished or even rewarded.

“What is alarming about the Civil Division and what rings true for the entire labor force is the lack of accountability for individuals committing acts of sexual misconduct due to the absence of punitive procedures,” said Wanda Killingsworth, president of Federally Employed Women. “Without any internal system to protect employees from sexual harassment the fight to effectively combat workplace sexual harassment is directly inhibited and the current report on the Department of Justice just proves that lack of awareness is a breeding ground for abuse.” The division’s cases, she added, “are not unique to any single agency, but nonetheless present in many sectors of the workforce.”


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