Homeland Security Official Takes Leave Amid Sexual Harassment Accusations

Suzanne Barr, the chief of the staff of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has “voluntary placed herself on leave” after new allegations that she made lewd and sexually charged comments to subordinates were sent to department officials.

James Hayes, the director of the ICE office in New York, sent government lawyers sworn affidavits from two ICE officials describing improper conduct by Barr, a top aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Hayes has filed a lawsuit accusing Napolitano and Homeland Security of gender discrimination and creating a “frat-house type atmosphere” at ICE “that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.”

In one affidavit, an ICE official describes a party at the house of the deputy chief of mission in Bogota, Columbia during which Barr offered to perform a sexual act on him. In another affidavit, an ICE official describes a meeting in Barr’s office in which she made sexually lewd comments about another ICE employee.

Hale, the ICE spokesman, called Hayes’ lawsuit “unfounded.”

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