Top U.S. Borders official resigns over sex abuse allegations – media – Reuters
The resignation of the former director of the US Border Patrol’s law enforcement branch last year came amid accusations that he pressured several women for sexual favors, reports Saturday NBC News. The agency is reportedly plagued by similar incidents of misconduct.
Tony Barker abruptly left his post in October, after 21 years with the agency. His resignation received no media coverage until NBC reported that he resigned due to accusations of sexual misconduct.
Quoting unnamed officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Border Patrol’s parent agency – the network claimed that Barker had a consensual relationship with a subordinate employee, which the woman tried to end. Barker allegedly threatened to tell other employees that she illegally issued government contracts unless she continued to perform sexual favors on him.
The woman complained to her superiors at DHS, prompting “many” other women to come forward, according to the report. At the time, Barker was also under internal investigation, after officials vetting him for promotion searched his emails in response to “allegations about [his] relationship with women, according to a New York Times article.
Barker has denied any wrongdoing. In a statement to the media, he said that “Allegations that I pressured a woman for sexual favors or was the victim thereof are entirely and unequivocally false.”
His accusers aren’t the only Border Patrol agents to come forward with allegations of abuse. Amanda Cali, a New York-based agent, is currently suing DHS after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a co-worker in 2020 and her complaint was ignored by a supervisor. Former agent Amda Budd told The New York Times that she too was sexually assaulted and beaten by a male colleague, but that “High-ranking male officers tend to get away with these crimes.”
Documents obtained by the newspaper last year revealed that the DHS inspector general ordered his staff to remove damaging findings of domestic violence and sexual misconduct from DHS-linked law enforcement reports. . Within the Border Patrol alone, more than 10,000 employees had reported workplace sexual harassment, according to an unpublished 2020 report.
A DHS spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied the allegations against Barker, saying that while “we do not tolerate misconduct in our ranks”, federal privacy laws “prohibit the discussion of individual cases”.
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