Homeland & Coast Guard

Congressional investigation finds Coast Guard leadership fell short on handling bullying

A congressional investigation released Wednesday found that the Coast Guard leadership fell short on handling bullying and harassment allegations.

The report, released by the House Oversight and Reform and Homeland Security committees, discovered that the military did not properly and objectively investigate allegations of harassment and bullying and did not hold leadership accountable for falling short on the investigations. It also says retaliatory actions were taken against those making allegations.

Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) released the report, but the original investigation was launched in 2018 by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Thompson to look into complaints in the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Academy.

“This report shows that the Coast Guard repeatedly swept allegations of bullying and harassment under the rug, and did not hold senior officials accountable for their actions,” Maloney said in a statement. ”The Coast Guard should fully adopt the recommendations in this report to prevent these abuses from happening in the future.”

A joint subcommittee hearing between the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security was held Wednesday to address the report.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the branch’s handling of accusations has been updated, including a revision of the civil rights manual, a direction to officials to protect the identity of the complainant and the creation of mandatory training.

“We have diligently used these findings to remedy identified wrongs and implement changes for an improved environment moving forward,” Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride said in a statement. “We have changed CG policies and procedures for responding to allegations of bullying, harassment, and hazing.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said the other Republicans on the committees did not sign the report because they were given limited days to review it. 

One case discussed in the report is of Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Young-McLear, who said she was harassed due to her sexuality and race, but the report said the case was never investigated.

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Tags Bennie Thompson Bullying Carolyn Maloney Chip Roy Coast Guard Congressional report Elijah Cummings Harassment

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