Border agent who posted doctored sex photo of AOC escapes unpenalised

Report by the House Committee on Oversight finds that disciplinary action was ‘significantly reduced from the recommendation’

Jade Bremner
Thursday 28 October 2021 14:32
<p>New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez</p>

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Border patrol agents who allegedly posted doctored sexual images of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faced few consequences, a damming new report by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform has found.

The committee found that a secret Facebook group, named “I’m 10-15”, had more than 9,500 members, including members of the Customs and Border Protection, in July 2019.

Posts in the group allegedly included sexually explicit doctored images of Ms Ocasio-Cortez, plus memes and comments about the representative ahead of her visit to a migrant detention centre.

An agent who reportedly shared a superimposed image of President Donald Trump sexually assaulting Ocasio-Cortez, with a caption reading “That’s right b*****s” was fired.

The agency found that although 60 agents were recommended for discipline over misconduct allegations, only two ultimately lost their jobs. One, who was recommended for removal, was let off with just a letter, while another received a verbal warning.

An agent who allegedly posted an image of a penis going through a fence and Ms Ocasio-Cortez doctored on the other side of the fence with the words “Lucky Illegal Immigrant Glory Hole Special Starring AOC,” had his disciplinary action reduced from dismissal to just a two-month suspension, which came with back pay.

“Eighteen agents whom the Board recommended removing from their positions due to serious misconduct had their discipline reduced to suspensions. One proposed removal was reduced to a letter of reprimand, and another was reduced to an ‘oral admonishment’. Most of these agents were then allowed to resume working with migrants and children,” the report said.

The report also stated that a Border Patrol supervisor posted a video of a “migrant falling off a cliff to their death, as well as an explicit and offensive comment about a Member of Congress”. This individual was recommended to be fired, but instead received a 30-day suspension.

Another agent, according to the report, was able to retire with disability benefits instead of being sacked for allegedly “posting a photograph of a drowned father and child and referring derisively to them as ‘floaters’.”

Carla Provost, the former Border Patrol chief who stepped down in January 2020 and who was also allegedly part of the Facebook group, called the posts on the social media forum “completely inappropriate”.

“Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable,” she said following the allegations.

The Customs and Border Protection agency states on its website that it is “guided by the highest ethical and moral principles. Our actions bring honour to ourselves and our agency”.

The Independent has contacted the US Customs and Border Protection for comment on the disciplinary actions taken.

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