EPA responded to a 24-year-old intern’s complaint that a 62-year-old employee was inappropriately touching and kissing her by moving the intern four cubicles away from the older employee, the whistleblowers said. While they were looking into the intern’s accusations, more women came forward to unveil inappropriate behavior by the same employee. Carolyn Bohlen, who works in EPA’s superfund division, said management knew about the employee’s advances “for years.”
The employee was eventually flagged for dismissal before being allowed to retire, but lawmakers said that action was not harsh or prompt enough.
“One of the most toxic environments is at the EPA,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “How ironic. The EPA is supposed to protect the environment.” Citing reports from EPA employees, Chaffetz called the harassing employee a “predator who was fed a steady diet of interns.”