U.S. Forest Service chief retires following harassment reports

Tony Tooke - U.S. Forest Service

BILLINGS, Mont. -- U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke has stepped down after an investigation was launched into sexual misconduct allegations against him.

A Forest Service spokesman on Thursday confirmed Tooke's sudden retirement just seven months after he took over an agency that has been rocked over the past two years by reports of rampant sexual harassment.

His departure comes less than a week after PBS NewsHour reported Tooke was under investigation following relationships with subordinates before he became chief.

In a Wednesday night email to Forest Service employees, Tooke said he had cooperated with the investigation. He did not directly deny the allegations but said he "cannot combat every inaccuracy that is reported."

The Forest Service oversees 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 43 states and Puerto Rico.

Filed under: