Allegations of sexual misconduct by a former top personnel chief at the Federal Emergency Management Agency were referred to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, officials said Monday.
In a statement, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said the results of an internal investigation against ex-Chief Component Human Capital Officer Corey Coleman "leave me no choice but to take decisive action to address lapses in professional responsibility."
"These allegations are deeply disturbing and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at FEMA," he said, adding that the agency would, among other measures, create an office of professional responsibility to handle such complaints.
The allegations against Coleman were first reported earlier Monday by The Washington Post.
Citing an interview with Long, the newspaper reported that Coleman resigned on June 18, before a scheduled interview that was part of a nearly seven-month internal investigation.
“What we uncovered was a systemic problem going back years,” Long said, according to the newspaper.
A summary of the investigation obtained by the Associated Press found that Coleman had improper sexual relationships with subordinates and that he created a “toxic” work environment, including giving preferential treatment to fraternity brothers.
In a joint statement, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said they were “outraged and appalled” by the allegations.
The committee planned to hold a meeting on the subject next week, the statement said, but that meeting will be delayed until after the investigation into the alleged misconduct is finished.
“Our committee plans to hold a hearing to fully examine the results and to determine what role Congress can play in assuring this never happens again," they said.
Efforts to reach Coleman Monday at a listed phone number were unsuccessful.
A no-longer active biography at FEMA’s website said Coleman was appointed to the agency in April 2011, after working at the United States Secret Service and the Department of Transportation.