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Interior Dept Report Reveals Rampant Sexual Harassment, Fear Of ‘Backlash’

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A new Department of the Interior (DOI) report reveals the sexual harassment allegations made against a law enforcement supervisor of Canaveral National Seashore (CANA), in a case that still has a criminal investigation pending.

The Monday report detailed an ongoing instance of sexual harassment against a law enforcement employee, and two other female employees. The law enforcement supervisor denied all allegations and said that in most of the circumstances, “chances were high” that his actions and comments were “misinterpreted.”

The law enforcement employee said on Dec. 4, 2015,the law supervisor asked her to drive to a party with him and told her he needed to stop at the house of an elderly CANA volunteer who needed help fixing Christmas lights on the way.

Upon arriving at the volunteer’s house, the law enforcement supervisor claimed there were more lights upstairs to fix; the employee began to fix a cluttered desk in the bedroom when the supervisor “grabbed the left side of her belt, spun her around, and put his arms around her waist.”

When she asked him what he was doing, the supervisor pointed toward the bed and said: “But we’re here. Why not? No one will know.”

The law enforcement employee brought up other instances in which the law enforcement supervisor tried to get her alone in a secluded part of the station to check out safety feature in the ammunition safe and evidence room.

When interviewed about the allegations, the law enforcement supervisor denied all allegations and said the elderly volunteer had actually been home at the time. He later changed his story to say the volunteer hadn’t been at home and that “chances [were] high” that he went to the bedroom.

In a second interview, the law enforcement supervisor changed his story again and said that the law enforcement employee’s claim that he tried to kiss her was a “perception.”

Two other employees came forward with allegations that the law enforcement supervisor had sexually harassed them as well. An administrative assistant stated the supervisor would frequently discuss explicit sex scenes in movies with her and told her she was “his one true love.”

Another CANA employee alleged that in 2011, the supervisor frequently called her after work hours and repeatedly asked her out on dates.

All three women said they were scared of coming forward with these allegations. One believed there would be “backlash” at work and another did not want to start issues at work.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform led an investigation Tuesday into the National Park Service’s mishandling of sexual harassment cases and how they can improve on it. The committee found that more than 20 claims of sexual harassment were made at Grand Canyon River District and Canaveral National Seashore. Director of the National Park Service, Jonathan B. Jarvis, has not fired anyone.

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