Top U.S. Borders official resigns over sex abuse allegations – media
The resignation of the former director of the US Border Patrol’s law enforcement division last year came amid allegations that he pressured several women for sexual favors, NBC News reported Saturday. 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 firing received no media attention until NBC reported that he was resigning over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Citing unnamed officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — Border Patrol’s parent company — the network alleged that Barker had a consensual relationship with a subordinate employee, which the woman tried to terminate. Barker reportedly 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 “a lot” other women come forward, according to the report. Barker was also under internal investigation at the time, after officials who vetted him for promotion searched his emails in response to “accusations about [his] relationship with women, according to an article in the New York Times.
Barker has denied any allegations. He says this in a statement to the media “Allegations that I pressured a woman for sexual favors or was a victim of them are completely and unequivocally false.”
His accusers are not the only Border Patrol agents to have brought allegations of abuse. New York cop Amanda Cali 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 cop 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 often get away with these crimes.”
Documents obtained by the newspaper last year revealed that the DHS inspector general had directed 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 Within the Border Patrol alone, more than 10,000 employees had reported workplace sexual harassment, according to an unpublished 2020 report.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 will not tolerate misconduct in our ranks”, federal privacy laws “forbid the discussion of individual cases”.
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