New York Daily News
Federal agents investigating one of their own concluded that an FBI field office director in Albany sexually harassed eight female subordinates including one who carried a ruler to smack his hands when he reached for her legs and breasts, according to a report.
James Hendricks quietly retired last year as a special agent in charge, but not before colleagues labeled him a “skilled predator” and the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found that his behavior marked one of the FBI’s most egregious known cases of sexual misconduct.
According to the Associated Press, Hendricks was among several senior FBI officials who avoided discipline — and retired with full benefits — even after claims of sexual misconduct against them were substantiated.
Hendricks’ alleged sexual harassment was outlined in a 52-page report obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act . Although his name is blacked out in the report, he was identified by law enforcement officials familiar with his case, the AP reported.
The timeline of Hendricks’ transgressions dates back to his time at FBI headquarters, where he served as a section chief in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
In 2018, he was promoted to lead the Albany field office, where he supervised more than 200 agents and other FBI employees. Six of his accusers were in Albany; two were in Washington.
Co-workers told investigators that Hendricks 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.
Hendricks, 50, was considered “creepy” by even some of his male colleagues, one of whom said Hendricks once simulated masturbation when an attractive woman left the room.
According to the report, Hendricks once asked a female subordinate to sit in the passenger seat of a vehicle “so that I can play with that beautiful hair.” When the same woman was asked why she didn’t wear shorts to the office, she told him “because that would be inappropriate.”
That woman told investigators she didn’t report Hendricks because all of her work required his approval and “she wanted to be successful in the office.”
Hendricks, who now writes a law enforcement blog, told investigators his accusers had either misinterpreted his actions or exaggerated his behavior, and that he was not sexually attracted to them, according to the AP.
“It’s an ugly, ugly laundry list of things that were said, and that’s really hurtful to me and it really just disappoints me,” he was quoted as saying.
The FBI said it could not discuss Hendricks’ case. In a statement, a representative said the agency “maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment and is committed to fostering a safe work environment where all of our employees are valued, protected and respected.”
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