Details Emerge on DOJ Sexual Harassment

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Last December, the Justice Department’s inspector general dropped a bombshell: Investigators had “substantiated” allegations that a senior DOJ official was a repeat sexual harasser. The official, who had retired, harassed five women under his chain of command, the inspector general said. One woman reported that she was not only harassed, but also sexually assaulted. Another woman reported that she was pressured into having sex to get a promotion. The official had worked in the Office of Justice Programs, but he wasn’t identified. No criminal charges were filed.

Nearly 10 months later, BuzzFeed News obtained a copy of the inspector general’s full report. The 12-page document is redacted but includes a slew of new information, including detailed accounts from two of the women who described a pattern of escalating workplace harassment, as well as investigators’ findings that the former official “lacked credibility” and provided “conflicting testimony.” The former official is Edison Aponte, who most recently was associate deputy director in the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a section within the Office of Justice Programs that provides law enforcement training and grants — including, several sources noted, on issues related to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. “It boggles the mind,” said Jon Adler, who took over as the head of the Bureau of Justice Assistance in late 2017 and has since departed the agency.

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