ICE chief of staff goes on leave amid sexual discrimination complaints


Immigration and Customs Enforcement Chief of Staff Suzanne Barr is on leave amid additional reports that Barr sexually harassed male employees of the Homeland Security Department component.

Alleged harassment by Barr forms part of a complaint (.pdf) of discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed in May by a James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of ICE's New York field office, against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Hayes says he's due $335,000 in compensatory damages and a directed retirement with front pay as a result of discrimination enabled in part by Barr's creation of "a frat-house type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees."

Fox News reports that Barr went on voluntary leave after two other ICE employees submitted affidavits in the Hayes case describing sexually graphic comments made by Barr.

In a written statement, ICE Public Affairs Director Brian Hale says the agency "has referred these allegations to the DHS Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility for review" and that Barr will remain on leave pending the outcome of the review.

Barr served as Napolitano's deputy director and director of legislative affairs while the secretary was governor of Arizona. Hayes' complaint also alleges that he was replaced in his headquarters position of director of ICE Detention and Removal Operations by Dora Schriro, a former director of the Arizona Department of Corrections during Napolitano's tenure as governor. Homeland Security spokesmen have earlier said Hayes' claims are unfounded.

For more:
- download Hayes' complaint (.pdf)

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