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An FBI field office director in upstate New York sexually harassed eight female subordinates and asked one to have sex with him in a conference room, according to a report.
James Hendricks, who led the FBI’s field office in Albany in 2018, supervised more than 200 agents and other FBI employees — but colleagues allege he was a “skilled predator” who leered at female workers and touched them inappropriately, according to 52-page Office of Inspector General report obtained Monday by the Associated Press.
Hendricks’ name was blacked out in the report, but law enforcement sources familiar with his case identified him as the now-retired FBI boss detailed in the report obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
The alleged sexual harassment dated back to Hendricks’ time at FBI headquarters, where he served as a section chief in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, according to the report.
Six of Hendricks’ accusers were in Albany, while two others said they were harassed by him in Washington. Some colleagues said he was routinely inappropriate around female coworkers, becoming “super giddy” in their presence and being “incapable of stopping himself,” according to the federal report.
One woman even carried a ruler at FBI headquarters so she could smack Hendricks’ hands away when he groped her legs and breasts, it was claimed.
A second accuser said Hendricks tugged on her ear and kissed her cheek while at a closed-door meeting, according to the OIG, which serves as the Justice’s Department internal watchdog.
Hendricks, who joined the FBI in 1998, was among several senior bureau officials who avoided discipline and retired with full benefits last year despite their sexual misconduct claims against them being substantiated, the Associated Press reported.
One woman accused Hendricks of pressuring her into a sexual relationship, claiming he had been known to “push out” those who crossed him.
“He was in a powerful position, and she worried about what he would do if she did not respond to his advances,” the report reads.
Hendricks also asked a female subordinate to sit in the passenger seat of a car so he could “play with that beautiful hair,” according to the report. The woman said she didn’t report the FBI official because her work required his approval and she “wanted to be successful in the office,” OIG investigators said.
Hendricks, 50, now writes a law enforcement blog and did not respond to messages seeking comment, the Associated Press reported. He previously told federal investigators his accusers had misinterpreted or exaggerated his behavior.
“It’s an ugly, ugly laundry list of things that were said, and that’s really hurtful to me and it really just disappoints me,” Hendricks reportedly told investigators.
FBI officials, meanwhile, declined to discuss Hendricks’ case, but said it has a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy and fosters a work environment where all employees are “valued, protected and respected.”
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