The CIA is firing an employee who accused the spy agency of retaliation over her allegation of sexual assault
The CIA fired an employee who reported being sexually assaulted by a colleague in a stairwell at the agency and charged central Intelligence Agency To try to dissuade her from filing a criminal complaint, according to her lawyer.
The case of the unnamed employee, which led to the conviction of a colleague in state court last year on assault and battery charges, prompted at least two dozen others at the agency to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct at the spy agency as well as a CIA investigation. Office of the Inspector General.
The employee’s dismissal comes as she faced the CIA Audit From Congress over its handling of sexual assault and misconduct complaints, with some critics accusing the agency of tolerating a culture that discourages victims from reporting Violations.
The employee’s attorney, Kevin Carroll, called her termination “unlawful retaliation against a whistleblower to Congress, the Inspector General and law enforcement regarding workplace sexual violence at the agency.”
“The only reason she was terminated was to scare all the other women from coming forward (about the alleged sexual misconduct),” he added.
The CIA rejected the lawyer’s claims.
“This statement is factually inaccurate. To be clear, the CIA does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment, or whistleblower retaliation,” Tammy Thorpe, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in a statement.
Carroll, a partner at the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, said his client failed the CIA’s secret officer training program. In such cases, such employees are permitted to advance to other positions in the agency. His client applied for another job but was not selected and was fired Monday, according to Carroll.
He said the agency told his client that it had failed to train her because of her poor writing skills. Carroll said he corresponded with his client for several months and found her to be an excellent writer, and that it was puzzling how the agency could reach a different conclusion, especially in light of what he said was his client’s accomplished academic record.
Thorpe, the CIA spokesman, rejected any suggestion that the agency’s training was unfair or biased.
“Regarding allegations regarding the agency’s rigorous training, as expected, the CIA uses consistent processes to ensure fair and equal treatment of every officer undergoing training. Our mission requires no less,” she said.
A large percentage of trainees do not pass the secret officer training required by the CIA. For those who exit the program, there is no guarantee they will be appointed to other positions at the agency, former CIA officers say.
Ashkan Bayatpour, the CIA colleague who the employee accused of wrapping a scarf around her neck and threatening her, was convicted of a state misdemeanor charge of assault and battery in a Virginia court last year.
The criminal case was highly unusual for the intelligence agency, which is accustomed to dealing with personnel cases out of the public eye.
The employee also filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the CIA retaliated against her for reporting her sexual assault allegation to local police and relaying her experience to lawmakers in a closed congressional hearing.
The lawsuit alleges that the CIA improperly shared her personal information with the attorney of a former colleague convicted of assaulting her and gave her negative performance evaluations.
The lawsuit is now the subject of settlement negotiations.
The CIA says it has implemented reforms in recent years to improve how it handles allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, ensuring that officers know they can report complaints to law enforcement and that disciplinary procedures are consistent and people are held accountable.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com