Forest Service to use outside contractor for its cases about sex misconduct | TSLN.com

Forest Service to use outside contractor for its cases about sex misconduct

The Forest Service has agreed to use outside contractors to deal with complaints of sexual harassment for at least one year, the USDA Office of the Inspector General said today when it released an interim report on sexual misconduct issues in that division of the Agriculture Department.

The report was released a day after Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke resigned amidst allegations about his conduct.

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said in a statement that "While I am pleased that the agency has accepted the recommendations of this report, it is clear there is still more work that needs to be done. I will continue to press the Forest Service to improve its procedures to thoroughly investigate incidents, prevent retaliation, and hold perpetrators accountable.

"The next chief must work tirelessly to both steward our national forests and aggressively address the widespread complaints of sexual misconduct at the agency."

“I will continue to press the Forest Service to improve its procedures to thoroughly investigate incidents, prevent retaliation, and hold perpetrators accountable.” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

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Stabenow noted that in 2016 she had joined a bipartisan group of members of Congress to request an audit into the Forest Service's procedures for handling sexual harassment and misconduct issues.

–The Hagstrom Report