FBI Agent Sues Over Border Patrol Voyeur

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A female FBI agent claims in Federal Court that a government cover-up may have allowed a former border patrol supervisor to secretly tape his female colleagues using the restroom for years.
     A woman named in the complaint as “Agent Anonymous” sued former border patrol supervisor Armando Gonzalez in Federal Court on Friday, claiming civil rights violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
     The agent says she first became aware of her peeping-tom co-worker when she met with the San Diego Police Department on Jan. 29, 2015. Detectives showed the agent images of her using the restroom that were taken without her consent, according to the 30-page complaint.
     When Gonzalez got caught, he initially told investigators he installed a digital recorder in the floor drain adjacent to the toilet “in the context of conducting an official investigation into alleged drug use by his subordinates,” according to the complaint.
     The female agent says she later learned Gonzalez had been capturing images and footage for years – saving over 300 videos on various devices – and may have even made money by uploading nude images of the plaintiff and other women to file-sharing websites, according to her complaint.
     Over the course of 18 months, Gonzalez captured images of unclothed private parts of seven women – all federal employees – who used the bathroom between July 24, 2013 and April 11, 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
     Gonzalez is currently serving a 21-month sentence after pleading guilty last December to making a false statement to a federal official and seven counts of video voyeurism. He had faced a maximum of 12 years in prison.
     The agent seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Gonzalez and a raft of federal defendants whom she claims knew about his on-the-job misconduct and may have been involved in a possible cover-up.
     She also wants a suspension of federal funding given to the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office until the departments are overhauled and reformed to ensure Gonzalez’s conduct will never be repeated.
     The agent says the border patrol and other government agencies failed to properly vet Gonzalez prior to his hiring, and failed to identify him as “a sexual predator who exploited his on-the-job access to private surveillance images of female citizens for the sexual and monetary gratification and gain of himself and others,” according to her complaint.
     She also says there is an “Honor First” policy which protected Gonzalez and allowed him to avoid getting caught.
     “If faced with a report of police misconduct, defendants knew they could evade professional or legal consequences by simply claiming that they were ‘just doing their jobs’ or ‘just trying to protect the public,'” the agent says in the complaint.
     The agent claims there is a pattern and practice of cover-ups as evidenced by various national incidents. These include 142 complaints of wrong-doing by border patrol agents obtained by the ACLU of Arizona, 33 people that have died during encounters with border patrol agents since 2010 – with one agent facing criminal charges – and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General ordering Customs and Border Protection to cease working with the FBI on internal corruption cases.
     In her complaint, the agent claims the defendants allowed, encouraged and participated in the destruction of evidence of Gonzalez’s and other officers’ misconduct and intimidated and retaliated against victims and witnesses in an attempt to suppress complaints of officer misconduct.
     The agent claims she encountered illegal obstructions and hurdles while trying to seek judicial relief from agencies, which included the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol and their Office of Equal Employment Opportunity refusing to investigate her claims.
     She says she has “endured remarks and comments” by supervisors, superiors and coworkers which has added to the “stress, fear, embarrassment and humiliation” she has endured in her work as a special agent with the FBI. She also claims she was forced to give up a higher priority assignment in exchange for a lower one and has had to work reduced hours, according to her complaint.
     Other defendants named in the complaint include the United States; U.S. Department of Justice; U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch; the FBI and FBI Director James Comey; Department of Homeland Security and its Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Border Patrol; the City of San Diego through the San Diego Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney; and the state of California.
     The Justice Department did not respond to an email requesting comment. A representative at Customs and Border Protection was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment at this time.
     Anonymous Agent is represented by attorneys Joseph Dicks and Linda Workman of San Diego, who did not respond to phone and email requests for comment.

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