Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Border Patrol’s second-highest official opts to retire amid sexual misconduct allegations

By 37ci3 Feb21,2024


The U.S. Border Patrol’s second-highest-ranking officer has chosen to retire amid allegations of sexual harassment against female Border Patrol agents, according to two sources familiar with his departure.

Joel Martinez, who took over as deputy chief in January, is being investigated by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility after multiple female employees accused him of sexual harassment stemming from his time. Laredo, Texas, working in the border sector– the sources said.

Sources familiar with Martinez’s statements said the women claimed he made aggressive comments to them about wanting to have sex with them and that they felt threatened and pressured by him to have sex with him.

Joel Martinez, Acting Deputy Chief of the US Border Patrol.
Joel Martinez, Acting Deputy Chief of the US Border Patrol.CBP

The Washington Post He was the first to report that Martinez had been punishedbut did not determine the cause.

“We do not tolerate misconduct in our ranks,” a CBP spokesperson told NBC News when asked about Martinez.

“When we discover any alleged or potential wrongdoing, we immediately investigate it and cooperate fully with any criminal or administrative investigations. This is true regardless of whether the alleged abuse occurred on or off duty. Federal privacy laws prohibit discussion of individual cases,” the spokesman said.

By retiring, Martinez will not be subject to punishment from CBP’s OPR unless the office finds cause to refer a criminal case to the Department of Justice.

Over a year ago, Tony Barker, Commander of the Border Patrol No. 3, left the agency after allegations emerged that he had pressured an employee into having sex. Barker denied the allegations, calling them “completely and unequivocally false.”

A Border Patrol agent who alleged abuse at Barker’s hands told NBC News on condition of anonymity that OPR does not go far enough to stop misconduct because accused employees can simply leave the agency without facing scrutiny for their behavior. .



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