The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s recently resigned personnel chief has been accused in a preliminary report of fostering a culture of sexual harassment for years, the Washington Post reported Monday, “in which women were hired as possible sexual partners for male employees.”
The Post reported the news based on an executive summary of a preliminary months-long internal investigation and interviews with FEMA officials, including an on-the-record exchange with FEMA administrator Brock Long.
Corey Coleman, whose official title was Chief Component Human Capital Officer, according to an archived FEMA webpage, resigned on June 18 before a scheduled interview as part of the probe, the Post noted. He’d led the personnel office since 2011.
“What we uncovered was a systemic problem going back years,” Long told the paper, noting, in the Post’s words, that “some of the behavior could rise to the level of criminal activity.” The misconduct reportedly went back at least as far as 2015.
“The biggest problem I may solve here may be the eradication of this cancer,” he added. “How many complaints were not heard? I’ve got to make sure we have a safe working environment for our employees.”
The probe is “not going to stop with [Coleman],” Long said.
Long further told the Post that Coleman had hired “dozens” of college friends and fraternity brothers, and women he’d met on dating sites and at bars, subsequently promoting them without following procedure.
An unnamed FEMA official told the Post that Coleman transferred women around different departments and locations “so his friends could try to have sexual relationships with them,” in the paper’s words.
Coleman himself had at least two sexual relationships with subordinates, the Post said, in 2015 and 2017. One woman was denied a promotion and threatened with termination after she ended the relationship; and Coleman created a new position for the other woman, for which she told investigators she was unqualified.
Unnamed FEMA officials told the Post that the department’s inspector general had received complaints about Coleman prior to the start of Long’s tenure in 2017, referring them back to the agency. And Long told the Post that he had personally received a complaint about Coleman, which he said he forwarded to the FEMA general counsel.
Read the Post’s full report here.