WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior political appointee in the Obama administration says the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior that have been lodged against her by at least three employees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement are unfounded.
But Suzanne Barr says she is stepping down anyway, to end distractions within the agency.
Barr was a longtime aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Barr is accused of sexually inappropriate behavior toward employees. The complaints are related to a sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by a senior ICE agent in May.
In her resignation letter to agency director Joe Morton -- for whom she was chief of staff -- Barr says she's been the subject of "unfounded allegations" aimed at destroying her reputation.
In one complaint, she is accused of telling a male subordinate he was "sexy," and asking a personal question about his anatomy during an office party. In a separate complaint, she is accused of offering to perform a sex act with a male subordinate during a business trip in Colombia.
The Republican chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King of New York, says her resignation "raises the most serious questions about management practices and personnel policies at the Department of Homeland Security."
213-v-31-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)--A senior Obama administration political appointee who is the chief of staff to the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has resigned amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior lodged by at least three ICE employees. AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports. (1 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *213 (09/01/12)>> 00:31
214-c-17-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)-"with great regret"-AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports the ICE chief of staff is accused of inappropriate sexual behavior toward three employees at Immmigration and Customs Enforcement. (1 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *214 (09/01/12)>> 00:17 "with great regret"