Top immigration aide steps down amid sexual harassment allegations
The chief of staff for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department has resigned amid accusations of intimidating and sexually harassing male employees.
According to the Associated Press, Suzanne Barr, a longtime aide to Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano, is leaving her post “with great regret,” saying in a letter the allegations against her are unfounded, but that they pose a greater threat to the department.
“As such, I feel it is incumbent upon me to take every step necessary to prevent further harm to the agency and to prevent this from further distracting from our critical work,” Barr said in the letter.
Barr had already taken a leave of absence earlier this month, after she was sued by James Hayes, an agent in ICE’s New York office, saying she had created a “frat house-type atmosphere” in the department. Those allegations led to Geraldo Rivera’s suggestion on Fox News that a “lesbian cabal” had taken over the department.
NBC News reports that Hayes’ suit accuses Barr of playing “sexually charged” games with her employees: three years ago, she allegedly moved the computers, telephones and name plates of three male employees into the men’s room; she is also accused of asking a male employee a personal question about his anatomy at an office party, and of offering to perform a sex act with another subordinate during a business trip to Colombia.
Watch NBC News’ report on the accusations against Barr, aired on The Today Show Tuesday morning, below.