The Homeland Security Department says Suzanne Barr, a senior official at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, stepped down Saturday amid allegations of discrimination and sexual misconduct made by a pair of employees.
According to the NY Daily, Barr, the former Chief of Staff at ICE, took leave from the office soon after the allegations were made in August but has now decided to make the move permanent as she wrote in a letter to her agency’s director John Morton:
“In recent weeks, I have been the focus of unfounded allegations designed to destroy my reputation, but of greater concern however, is the threat these allegations represent to the reputation of this agency and the men and women who proudly serve their country by advancing ICE’s mission.”
The Chicago Tribune notes that among the claims were that Barr was a chronic alcoholic and that she called a male subordinate at his hotel room “screaming” she wanted to perform oral sex on him. Barr also reportedly stole a male staffer’s BlackBerry and fired off a message to his female supervisor indicating that he “had a crush on [her] and fantasized about her, according to the Daily.
In response to Barr’s resignation letter (which her agency accepted and simply replied: “Director Morton has received Ms. Barr’s resignation. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors”), Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has vowed to scrutinize the matter when Congress returns from vacation.
“The resignation of Suzanne Barr raises the most serious questions about management practices and personnel policies at the Department of Homeland Security,” King said. “The Committee on Homeland Security will continue and intensify its review of all the facts regarding this case and DHS personnel practices across the board.”