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House Examines DOJ Sexual Misconduct Allegations

On April 14, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing, “DOJ IG: Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations.” The hearing focused on the report released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG), “The Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components.” The report disclosed systemic issues with the handling of sexual misconduct allegations, which included allegations not reported to headquarters and claims that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents engaged in “sex parties” connected to drug cartels in Columbia.

Michael E. Horowitz, inspector general, DOJ stated, “In March 2015, we issued our report focused on the nature, frequency, reporting, investigation, and adjudication of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, including the transmission of sexually explicit texts and images, in four of the Department’s law enforcement components: ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms], the DEA, the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigations], and the USMS [United States Marshal Service]. This most recent report can be found on our website.” Mr. Horowitz continued, “Although the OIG [Office of Inspector General] found that there were relatively few such allegations during the period from fiscal years 2009 through 2012, the report identified significant systemic issues with the components’ processes for handling these important matters that require prompt corrective action by the department. These issues include: A lack of coordination between internal affairs offices and security personnel…[t]he failure to report misconduct allegations to component headquarters…[t]he failure to fully investigate allegations…[w]eaknesses in the adjudication process…[and] [w]eaknesses in detecting and preserving sexually explicit text messages and images.”

The following witnesses also testified:

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