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DOJ OIG Releases Update on the Recommendations from the OIG’s March 2015 Sexual Misconduct Report

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of an interim status report on the DOJ’s efforts to implement the recommendations contained in the DOJ OIG’s March 2015 report entitled, Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components. In the status report released today, which we compiled in response to a request contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, the OIG finds that the Department and its law enforcement components have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, all of the recommendations made in our 2015 report.

The OIG’s 2015 report examined the nature, frequency, reporting, investigation, and adjudication of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the United States Marshals Service (USMS). That report identified some significant systemic flaws in the components’ processes for handling sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations, and made eight recommendations—four recommendations to the law enforcement components and four to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG).

Today’s status report examines the status of those recommendations as of March 16, 2016 and finds:

  • The FBI, DEA, and ATF have fully implemented corrective actions for all of the recommendations directed to them.
  • The USMS has fully implemented two of the recommendations, and it has provided us with information showing substantial progress towards full implementation of the remaining two recommendations. The two recommendations still in progress concern ensuring that all non- frivolous sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations are referred to security personnel, and using offense categories specifically designed to address sexual misconduct and sexual harassment when rendering disciplinary action.
  • The ODAG is in the process of implementing corrective actions for three of the four recommendations directed to it. The fourth recommendation was for the ODAG to take concrete steps to acquire and implement technology to proactively monitor employee text messages and images for potential misconduct. As described in today’s report, the ODAG has concluded that, because the current state of various technologies to support this ability are considered to be only in the research and development phase, the DOJ considers implementation of such technology to be operationally infeasible at this time. The OIG intends to continue our discussions with ODAG to determine the future status of this recommendation.

The OIG will issue another status report in six months describing the DOJ’s efforts to implement the eight OIG recommendations as of that time.

Today’s status report can be found on the OIG’s website at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/press/2016/2016-03-22.pdf. (The 2015 report can be found here.)

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