Former FEMA head accused of sexual misconduct

The former head of human resources at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Corey Coleman, has been accused of trading sex for jobs at the agency, according to a source with knowledge of FEMA's internal investigation into the matter and an executive summary of the preliminary findings of the investigation.

Posted: Jul 31, 2018 8:45 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2018 9:15 PM

The former head of human resources at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Corey Coleman, has been accused of trading sex for jobs at the agency, according to a source with knowledge of FEMA's internal investigation into the matter and an executive summary of the preliminary findings of the investigation.

An executive summary of the preliminary investigation reviewed by CNN finds that Coleman engaged in sexual relationships with female subordinates. In the report, witnesses accuse him of pressuring the women and demoting them when they tried to deny his advances, intimidating staff and creating a toxic work environment.

Coleman's name does not appear in the executive summary, but the source confirmed he is the subject of the report.

Investigators allege that when Coleman was approached for an interview, he resigned. The source said the resignation occurred on June 18.

"Results of a recent internal investigation concerning allegations of sexual misconduct against the former Chief Component Human Capital Officer leave me no choice but to take decisive action to address lapses in professional responsibility, including requesting further investigation by the DHS Office of the Inspector General," FEMA Administrator Brock Long said in a statement. "These allegations are deeply disturbing and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at FEMA."

CNN has been unable to reach Coleman for comment.

The Washington Post was first to report on the allegations against Coleman.

It's unclear how many women are making accusations against Coleman, and the source said the agency is still trying to determine how many women were impacted by Coleman's alleged conduct.

The first known accusation is from 2015, the source said. Coleman was hired as a deputy in the agency's HR office in 2011 and was later promoted to the head of HR. An exact date of the promotion was not immediately available.

The source said the first complaint was filed with the DHS Inspector General's office but wasn't investigated because it was considered to be too vague. FEMA then launched an internal investigation at Long's direction, the source said. The agency will now turn its investigation back over to the Inspector General. CNN reached out to the Inspector General's office for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Long announced "decisive action" in the wake of the report. Long called the allegations "deeply disturbing" and said the agency will conduct an "end-to-end, third party review" of the sexual harassment allegations. Long also announced more counseling, training and a review of open complaints.

In the statement by Long, he calls for the implementation of several measures following the initial report. These include an "end-to-end, third party review of FEMA's approach to intake, management, and resolution of employee misconduct allegations, especially sexual harassment allegations," and a requirement for employees to "complete a mandatory, third party, in-person training to recognize, report, and prevent sexual harassment."

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