Former FBI special agent in charge harassed eight women, was seen as 'skilled predator'

Last May a DOJ investigation concluded that FBI special agent in charge James Hendricks had sexually harassed 8 women who worked for him. At the time his name was not released in the report but the Times Union identified him anyway.

The Justice Department’s report said the investigation began after an inspection revealed Albany’s special agent in charge had allegedly sexually harassed six employees in Albany, failed to report an intimate relationship with a subordinate employee, and harassed two more lower-ranking employees while in his prior position as a section chief at FBI headquarters…

Following the end of his intimate relationship with the employee in Albany, the report stated, Hendricks allegedly “engaged in actions … that created a hostile work environment for the subordinate, and lacked candor during the SAC’s interview with the OIG, all in violation of FBI policy. The OIG investigation also found that the SAC violated the Department of Justice’s zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual harassment.”

By the time the report was issued, Hendricks has already retired and the FBI refused to comment. That meant that only the broad outlines of what took place was known. But today the Associated Press reports it got a copy of a 52-page OIG report which spells out his behavior in a lot more detail:

One woman carried a ruler at FBI headquarters so she could smack James Hendricks’ hands when he reached for her legs and breasts. Another went home shaken after he tugged on her ear and kissed her cheek during a closed-door meeting.

And when Hendricks went on to lead the FBI’s field office in Albany, New York, in 2018, colleagues described him as a “skilled predator” who leered at women in the workplace, touched them inappropriately and asked one to have sex in a conference room, according to a newly released federal report obtained by The Associated Press…

Co-workers told investigators he surrounded himself with a “harem” of attractive women, was fixated on high heels and breasts, and was known for gawking at female agents as they walked down the hallway.

The men who worked around Hendricks described his behavior as “creepy” but the women, including one woman who said she was pressured into a sexual relationship, felt they had no choice. He was the boss and he was known to be vindictive toward anyone who complained about his behavior.

It’s not clear if Hendricks faced any real accountability for his behavior since he retired before he could be forced out. Did he keep his pension? The FBI won’t say.

What I found most striking about this story is how similar it sounds to the allegations against Gov. Cuomo. Like Hendricks, Cuomo also hired attractive women and moved them closer to his office. Both men seem to have preferred women in the office to wear heels. Hendricks claimed his touchy-feely behavior was a result of him being a “Southern gentleman.” Cuomo blamed the same behavior on being a warm Italian. And in both cases, the behavior ranged from inappropriate questions or leering to outright groping. It appears Hendricks left when he saw what was coming. Will Cuomo, who seems to be an equally skilled predator, eventually do the same?