Attorney General

Leader of Justice Department unit is demoted after questions about bias, 'sexualized' workplace

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The leader of the Justice Department’s death penalty unit has been demoted and moved to a different division after the New York Times began asking about accusations of gender bias, a sexualized workplace environment and a barroom groping incident involving his deputy.

Kevin Carwile had been moved from his leadership post heading the gang crimes unit to the smaller death penalty unit in 2010. It wasn’t long before he gained a reputation as “a mercurial manager with a hands-off style that bordered on neglect,” the Times reports, citing information from current and former employees.”

He remained in the post despite at least a dozen complaints to Justice Department officials, the inspector general and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the article.

Two female prosecutors said Carwile forced them to travel for work, but he wasn’t as strict with male employees. One of the prosecutors filed a complaint with the EEOC and then sued in 2016.

Seven employees in the unit filed declarations support the prosecutor’s suit, including a male prosecutor who asserted that there was a “sexualized environment” in the department. In one instance, the male prosecutor said, Carwile showed him naked photographs of a woman during a work gathering. Other employees said Carwile excluded women from meetings and emails, and assigned better cases to men.

One female prosecutor alleged in a declaration that Carwile had said at one time that “women only go to law school to find rich husbands.”

Department employees also complained about the barroom incident, which occurred last May during a work-sanctioned event. They alleged that Carwile’s deputy, Gwynn Kinsey, groped an administrative assistant in view of Carwile. An intern wrote in a declaration that Carwile later asked him to keep quiet about what he saw. The administrative assistant showed colleagues text messages sent after the incident in which Kinsey allegedly offered to give her money or take her on a trip.

One prosecutor complained to the EEOC and another complained in an internal memo sent to Justice Department superiors. The administrative assistant said she participated in the department’s complaint process. She always wanted to pursue a career with the Justice Department, “but it failed me when I reported misconduct,” she said in a statement to the Times.

The administrative assistant is one of six employees who left the section or who quit government because of what they perceived as a toxic climate.

Kinsey was also demoted and moved to another division. He is appealing the decision.

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