Skooter reporting 09/02/12
Following assertion by several subordinates of bawdy behavior, a top official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement has resigned.
ICE Chief of Staff Suzanne Barr tendered her resignation in a letter to ICE Director John Morton. She cast off the claims against her as "unfounded" but said she didn't want to sidetrack from the agency's mission.
Barr’s resignation comes nearly three weeks after when she went on leave over the allegations. Barr’s conduct was questioned when it was first raised in a lawsuit submitted by an ICE official against Department of Homeland Security, the lawsuit which claimed discrimination and retaliation, listed among the complaints that Barr encouraged a “frat house”-style work atmosphere.
That allegation was accompanied by two affidavits describing incidents allegedly involving Barr in 2009. According to one of the affidavits while Barr was discussing about Halloween plans, she turned to a senior ICE employee and said “You a sexy” (expletive deleted). She then looked at the ICE employee’s crotch and asked, “How long is it anyway?” At this moment employees chuckled nervously.
The other affidavit recalled a trip to Colombia in late 2009, where Morton, Barr and Ray Parmer, who is ICE special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans were attending. According to the affidavit, Parmer and Barr were drinking heavily at the house of the deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in Columbia. Parmer took the BlackBerry of another employee and sent “lewd messages” to Barr. At this party, Barr approached Parmer and offered to perform oral sex.
In her letter to Morton, Barr defended herself and denied all the accusations saying they are not true.
This case has drawn keen interest among Republican lawmakers, questioning what it says about the culture at ICE and DHS.