‘Expert predator’ FBI boss harassed eight ladies, watchdog finds

NEW YORK: One lady carried a ruler at FBI headquarters so she might smack James Hendricks‘ fingers when he reached for her legs and breasts. One other went house shaken after he tugged on her ear and kissed her cheek throughout a closed-door assembly.
And when Hendricks went on to steer the FBI’s subject workplace in Albany, New York, in 2018, colleagues described him as a “expert predator” who leered at ladies within the office, touched them inappropriately and requested one to have intercourse in a convention room, based on a newly launched federal report obtained by The Related Press.
Hendricks quietly retired final 12 months as a particular agent in cost after the Workplace of Inspector Basic – the Justice Division’s inside watchdog – concluded he sexually harassed eight feminine subordinates in one of many FBI’s most egregious identified instances of sexual misconduct.
Hendricks was amongst a number of senior FBI officers highlighted in an AP investigation final 12 months that discovered a sample of supervisors avoiding self-discipline – and retiring with full advantages – even after claims of sexual misconduct in opposition to them had been substantiated.
The FBI stated it couldn’t talk about Hendricks‘ case however that it “maintains a zero-tolerance coverage towards sexual harassment and is dedicated to fostering a protected work setting the place all of our workers are valued, protected and revered.”
Hendricks, 50, who now writes a regulation enforcement weblog, didn’t reply to messages searching for remark. He instructed investigators his accusers had both misinterpreted his actions or exaggerated his conduct, and that he was not sexually interested in them.
“It is an unsightly, ugly laundry checklist of issues that had been stated, and that is actually hurtful to me and it actually simply disappoints me,” he was quoted as saying.
The small print of Hendricks’ sexual harassment – outlined in a 52-page report obtained below the Freedom of Data Act – haven’t beforehand been reported. The OIG blacked out Hendricks’ identify within the report, however he was recognized by regulation enforcement officers conversant in his case.
Drawing on interviews with greater than a dozen FBI officers, the report traces Hendricks’ harassment to his time at FBI headquarters, the place he served as a piece chief within the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. He was tapped in 2018 to steer the Albany subject workplace, the place he supervised greater than 200 brokers and different FBI workers. Six of his accusers had been in Albany; two had been in Washington.
Some colleagues chalked up Hendricks’ conduct to his being a “Southern gentleman” – he served as a police officer in western Kentucky earlier than becoming a member of the bureau in 1998 – however others stated he routinely crossed the road, turned “tremendous giddy” round ladies and was “incapable of stopping himself” from harassing them.
Co-workers instructed investigators he surrounded himself with a “harem” of engaging ladies, was fixated on excessive heels and breasts, and was identified for gawking at feminine brokers as they walked down the hallway.
In workplace conversations that concerned ladies, Hendricks would shift his “physique posture and head angle to stare at their breasts and our bodies in a way that was calculated to keep away from detection,” the OIG report says. Female and male brokers alike instructed investigators they endured this “as a situation of merely interacting with their boss.”
Even Hendricks’ male colleagues thought of him “creepy” and one described how he simulated masturbation as soon as when a beautiful lady left the room. However like many feminine brokers, they didn’t report him for worry of retaliation.
Hendricks as soon as requested a feminine subordinate to take a seat within the passenger seat of a car “in order that I can play with that stunning hair.” He later requested the identical lady why she did not put on shorts to the workplace and he or she stated “as a result of that may be inappropriate.” The girl stated she did not report Hendricks as a result of all of her work required his approval and “she wished to achieve success within the workplace.”
One other lady instructed investigators that Hendricks pressured her into having a sexual relationship, and that he had been identified to be vindictive and “push out” individuals who crossed him.
“He was in a robust place,” the report says, “and he or she apprehensive about what he would do if she didn’t reply to his advances.”
FBI coverage permits supervisors to pursue sexual relationships with subordinates however requires them be disclosed so administration “might decide whether or not remedial motion, equivalent to reassignment, is important to forestall interference with the FBI’s mission.”
The Workplace of Inspector Basic, nevertheless, stated “the imbalance of energy between superiors and subordinates might name into query the consensual nature of romantic or intimate relationships.”

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