Report Finds ‘Systemic’ Lapses in Justice Dept. Sex Complaints

The Justice Department’s inspector general says supervisors have mishandled sexual misconduct complaints. Some perpetrators escaped discipline or were even later rewarded with bonuses or performance awards.

The U.S. Justice Department has “systemic” problems in how it handles sexual harassment complaints, reports the Washington Post. Justice supervisors have mishandled complaints, according to the department’s inspector general, and some perpetrators were given little discipline or even later rewarded with bonuses or performance awards. The cases examined by the IG’s office include a U.S. attorney who had a sexual relationship with a subordinate and sent harassing texts and emails when it ended; a Civil Division lawyer who groped the breasts and buttocks of two female trial attorneys; and a chief deputy U.S. marshal who had sex with “approximately” nine women on multiple occasions in his U.S. Marshals Service office, according to investigative reports obtained by the Post.

“We’re talking about presidential appointees, political appointees, FBI special agents in charge, U.S. attorneys, wardens, a chief deputy U.S. marshal, a U.S. marshal assistant director, a deputy assistant attorney general,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in an interview. On May 31 — before the issue exploded into the national consciousness — Horowitz sent a stern memo about sexual harassment to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who said he would consider whether additional guidance to Justice employees was required. “It is fortunate that there are relatively few substantiated incidents of sexual harassment, but even one incident is too many,” Rosenstein said in a statement at the time.