The top Homeland Security official accused of cultivating a “frat-house”-style work environment has “voluntarily placed herself on leave” amid an internal review, the department told FoxNews.com late Tuesday evening — just hours after FoxNews.com contacted the agency about new allegations against her.
Two more Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees came forward this week to complain about “lewd” conduct inside the agency, submitting sworn affidavits that depict graphic comments made by two top officials working under DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The affidavits were given as part of a discrimination and retaliation suit filed earlier this year by James T. Hayes Jr., the head of the New York office for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The two new affidavits described separate incidents in 2009. Both accounts described the actions of ICE chief of staff Suzanne Barr, who was also mentioned in Hayes’ lawsuit.
ICE Public Affairs Director Brian Hale said in a written statement that the department would respond “directly and strongly” to the lawsuit in court, but noted internal measures were being taken over the claims against Barr.
“ICE has referred these allegations to the DHS Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility for review. Ms. Barr has voluntarily placed herself on leave pending the outcome of this review,” ICE Public Affairs Director Brian Hale said in a written statement.