Washington, DC – Co-Chairs of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) Reps. Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lois Frankel (FL-21) and Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) and DWC Vice Chairs Reps. Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) were joined by 16 colleagues in sending a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray today demanding answers regarding multiple accounts of sexual harassment and discrimination at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
According to media reports, women trainees were penalized and dismissed at significantly higher rates than their male counterparts and subjected to sexist and inappropriate comments and behavior. One trainee was discharged from the Academy for lacking emotional maturity because she disagreed with her instructor, while a male trainee who had an emotional outburst after receiving instructor critique was not sanctioned for his behavior and was allowed to graduate. Another trainee was subjected to sexually charged comments by her male instructors, including instructors stating women needed to take birth control to control their moods. Yet another trainee, an African American woman, was labeled “spaghetti head” in reference to her braids.
“These women deserved a training environment free from harassment and discrimination and we believe the Bureau failed them. With the outpouring of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, women are bravely coming forward to share their stories and demand justice. We ask that you demonstrate the same bravery and urgency in addressing these issues infecting the Bureau as these women have shown in exposing them,” the Members wrote. “It’s unacceptable that those who break the law to preserve an archaic status quo do so without consequence. Your entire workforce suffers, and America is less safe as a result of these unfair practices perpetuating a climate out of step with America’s highest values.”
In their letter, Members requested information about the FBI’s policies and practices around fostering a dignified and inclusive environment for all of its trainees, as well as any data pertaining to reports of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at the Training Academy and discharge rates for women and men New Agent Trainees.
Click here for a copy of the letter.