U.S. Marshal Says He Was Fired for Protecting a Gay Colleague

In the summertime of 2015, deputy U.S. Marshal Daybreak Mahoney went to her supervisor for assist. A homosexual lady and Military vet, Mahoney claimed a few of her male colleagues within the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Job Pressure have been harassing her relentlessly, and that the workplace tradition was akin to the film Animal Home, however with weapons.

At one level, she claimed, somebody in her workplace in Central Islip, New York, urinated in a cookie jar on her desk. In one other episode, a activity power member allegedly gazed at her physique and mentioned, “Take a look at you, you horny bitch,” earlier than grabbing her waist when she walked previous him.

A kind of lawmen was later accused of shoving her from behind as she monitored a lady inside a home throughout the execution of a search warrant. She advised the U.S. Marshals Service Workplace of Equal Employment Alternative (EEO) that she believed her coworker’s actions have been “premeditated,” data present, and that “his presence there was to instill worry in her and to ship a message.”

Mahoney advised Bobby Ledogar, then a Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Jap District of New York, that she was involved for her security due to the alleged bullying, which she believed was escalating and probably harmful within the area.

Ledogar, who labored in each Brooklyn and Central Islip federal courts and was a warrant-squad supervisor, reported the shoving incident up the chain of command—to then-U.S. Marshal for the Jap District of New York Charles Dunne, and Chief Deputy Bryan Mullee—and pressed for an inside investigation.

However Ledogar says that after he defended Mahoney, the U.S. Marshals Service initiated 4 inside affairs investigations—what his attorneys have known as “fishing expeditions”—towards him in as a few years. A kind of probes led to his termination final 12 months, when he was 70 days away from retirement. In Mahoney’s case, inside affairs closed its inquiry into her claims of harassment with out taking motion, and when the company investigated the shoving incident, it discovered her accusations “unsubstantiated.”

Now Ledogar is preventing for his pension and interesting his termination, which he claims was retaliation for exposing the harassment of his subordinate—at a time when the federal legislation enforcement company was beneath stress from a Senate investigation. The 51-year-old Navy veteran, who served within the Gulf Conflict, was with the U.S. Marshals since 1995 and has obtained 166 letters of help from legislation enforcement colleagues and managers in response to the company’s proposals in 2017 and 2020 to take away him from federal service.

These endorsements did little to dissuade company headquarters from terminating him based mostly on fees together with, amongst others, conduct unbecoming a Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal, lack of candor, misuse of place and misuse of a authorities property-IT machine—a cost regarding photographs on his authorities cellphone of a fugitive mannequin’s Playboy unfold.

“… It despatched a transparent message to different Marshal Service staff that they might anticipate the identical therapy in the event that they, too, rocked the boat and took actions that might embarrass headquarters.”

— Raymond R. Granger, a lawyer for Bobby Ledogar

On Monday, Ledogar filed written closing arguments to the federal Benefit Techniques Safety Board (MSPB), which can decide whether or not he was wrongfully terminated and if he’s entitled to his full retirement. (He additionally has a pending grievance earlier than the Equal Employment Alternative Fee for retaliation and harassment.)

“It is a basic instance of retaliation for protected actions,” Ledogar’s lawyer, Raymond R. Granger, advised The Day by day Beast. “Not solely did headquarters in Washington punish Bobby for standing up for a fellow worker who clearly was being harassed and discriminated towards based mostly on her gender and sexual orientation, nevertheless it despatched a transparent message to different Marshal Service staff that they might anticipate the identical therapy in the event that they, too, rocked the boat and took actions that might embarrass headquarters.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed Ledogar labored for the company from June 1995 by means of April 2020 however mentioned, “As a consequence of privateness issues, USMS is just not capable of present specifics associated to a person’s employment report.” Dunne, who left the company in 2017, declined to remark however didn’t dispute Ledogar’s portrayal of occasions. Mullee, who has testified in help of Ledogar, additionally declined to remark.

The U.S. Marshals Service and its native and regional activity forces haven’t operated with out scrutiny in recent times.

In February, a report from The Marshall Project and USA In the present day put these local-federal squads beneath the microscope, revealing that whereas “many police departments have come beneath public scrutiny for shootings, marshals and their activity forces haven’t—although they’re extra seemingly to make use of their weapons.”

The duty forces encompass U.S. Marshals Service staff and state and native police who’re deputized as federal officers to trace down and arrest fugitives. The deputized cops can cross state strains to seize suspects and, as The Marshall Project reported, are sometimes insulated from native prosecution, litigation and oversight.

When Mahoney filed her grievance in 2015, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley was in the course of investigating misconduct and mismanagement inside the federal company.

In late 2018, the Iowa senator launched a memo of his inquiry, which examined claims by more than 100 whistleblowers, and “recognized a tradition of mismanagement, reckless spending, favoritism, and a basic lack of accountability.” It additionally detailed a “frat”-like surroundings the place “senior officers seem to behave with impunity whereas decrease degree staff are held to a stringent commonplace.”

“To have this uncovered, that you just had U.S. Marshals and native cops sexually harassing, assaulting, bullying, degrading and mocking a feminine U.S. Marshal who’s a lesbian, that’s a pleasant huge black eye towards the federal government.”

— Ledogar

Some staff, Grassley’s report mentioned, claimed they’d participated in inside affairs and EEO investigations, or in any other case reported misconduct, solely to face “frivolous or vindictive misconduct investigations” themselves.

From Ledogar’s perspective, U.S. Marshals Service headquarters wished to brush Mahoney’s accusations beneath the rug to keep away from any blowback to the fugitive activity power, one in every of eight such Congressionally funded models throughout the nation. (The company additionally has 56 different native activity forces specializing in violent offenders.)

“To have this uncovered, that you just had U.S. Marshals and native cops sexually harassing, assaulting, bullying, degrading and mocking a feminine U.S. Marshal who’s a lesbian, that’s a pleasant huge black eye towards the federal government,” Ledogar advised The Day by day Beast.

“And it’s going to come back out that one supervisor defended her, and the investigation of the feminine’s preliminary complaints was performed by the identical folks she did a grievance towards?” Ledogar added. “You didn’t even let inside affairs do it? You examine your self? We’ve all seen a historical past of how that works out.”

Mahoney filed a grievance with the company’s Workplace of Skilled Duty (OPR) inside affairs unit, which then punted the claims to the Investigative Operations Division (IOD)—which oversees the regional activity forces.

“Nothing about this case has been odd,” Mullee wrote in a letter of help to Chief Inspector Cheryl Jacobs in February 2020, when he was the performing U.S. Marshal for the Jap District. “From the very starting, all makes an attempt to resolve Daybreak’s case have been met with obstruction. Ask your self why IOD investigated the matter when the grievance was despatched to Inner Affairs.”

“Why have Daybreak’s allegations all been disregarded and taskforce personnel been cleared but district personnel constantly discover themselves topic to investigations, all stemming from the unique matter,” Mullee added. “The company’s dealing with of this matter has been something however equitable. Robert is a sufferer of this inequity.”

Mahoney joined the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Job Pressure’s Lengthy Island arm in 2010 after Ledogar, nicknamed “Led” by his colleagues, recruited her. On the time, she had been working as a U.S. Marshal within the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

Ledogar advised us the fugitive activity power “is the job of jobs for any Marshal and any cop,” and that it’s among the many most harmful jobs in legislation enforcement. From 2008 to 2011, A&E featured members of the elite New York/New Jersey corps in a actuality present referred to as Manhunters: Fugitive Job Pressure.

“After I discovered that Led proposed for me to be chosen and assigned full time to the warrant squad representing the district within the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Job Pressure, I used to be humbled,” Mahoney would later write in a letter of help for Ledogar which was despatched to U.S. Marshals Service Chief Inspector Cathy Jones.

“There have been so many male deputies that desperately wished that chance,” Mahoney wrote. “Led might have given it to any one in every of them. As a substitute he selected me, a feminine and a lesbian. I used to be honored that Led, who already had a really numerous, diligent, conscientious warrant squad, was now including me.”

Whereas Ledogar was within the crosshairs of inside affairs, Mahoney was among the many many colleagues who wrote a letter defending him. She referred to as him “a person with pure integrity.”

“What’s most troublesome for me to just accept personally is that his present persecution is solely based mostly on his brave actions of help in standing up for me, the unique sufferer of bullying by these making retaliatory complaints towards him,” Mahoney wrote.

Mahoney declined to remark for this story, and her legal professional didn’t return messages. However in paperwork reviewed by The Day by day Beast, Mahoney claimed her relationship with activity power members started to deteriorate in 2014, after she grew to become a staff chief on the fugitive squad and resigned from that position as a result of some activity power members overtly disrespected her. She stayed on the duty power as a rank-and-file member, although one company report states Mahoney believed “this was the start of the hostile work surroundings due to her intercourse.”

“‘It was a free for all of abuse,’ deputy U.S. Marshal Daybreak Mahoney
wrote in a letter to the U.S. Marshals Service Chief Inspector, including that the officers ‘had no filter and no worry of repercussion.’

Ledogar and Mahoney, in their very own authorities filings, described a “frat”-like tradition at work much like these described in Grassley’s report.

Mahoney, in a letter to Jones, claimed among the activity power officers who harassed her would additionally “interrogate all of the younger male interns about their intercourse lives” and query them on whether or not they have been homosexual, and made degrading feedback about girls, together with feminine interns, and their our bodies. “It was a free for all of abuse,” Mahoney wrote, including that the officers “had no filter and no worry of repercussion.” Their supervisors, she claimed, often simply laughed at their conduct.

Granger, Ledogar’s lawyer, has additionally described “a poisonous local weather pushed by three people” in a 2017 letter to the inspector. Granger alleged the duty power members have been “disrupting the office by loudly enjoying profane rap songs and movies; sexually harassing each coworkers and pupil interns; traipsing shirtless across the workplace… or sitting bare within the workplace’s co-ed sauna” and “sporting and in any other case displaying a gorilla masks to mock African-Individuals,” together with two activity power officers after they weren’t round. The accused bullies additionally allegedly tossed round a soccer scribbled with female and male genitalia. (The Day by day Beast reviewed photographs of a shirtless investigator within the workplace, the masks, and soccer.)

Granger additionally accused the boys of making a “shrine” within the workplace made from property snatched from fugitives and their households. “For instance, in the event that they felt a member of the family of a fugitive had not been useful and owned an costly automobile, they’d steal the important thing to punish the particular person, realizing it will be costly and inconvenient to interchange,” the letter states. “Different instances they stole private property reminiscent of jewellery or different private gadgets from a fugitive or the fugitive’s members of the family, and confiscated contraband reminiscent of a switchblade, brass knuckles, a machete, and a sword.”

In August 2015, Mahoney filed a grievance with OPR’s inside affairs unit, which transferred the matter to U.S. Marshals Service’s Investigative Operations Division—of which the duty power is a element. In accordance with one in every of Ledogar’s attraction filings, the assigned IOD investigator was a detailed good friend of the duty power supervisor, who was “accused of getting condoned the very misconduct being investigated.”

IOD closed its investigation a month later, calling Mahoney’s claims unsubstantiated. However Ledogar’s submitting states that Jap District brass Dunne and Mullee “have been upset drastically by IOD’s determination and felt that the whole course of had been biased and improper” and Mullee “felt that the Company was making an attempt to suppress the allegations of misconduct and was not going to permit them to be absolutely investigated or in any other case uncovered.”

One administration official inside the Marshals Service advised us IOD is the biggest division inside the company and has a stream of staff who rise by means of the ranks to turn into deputy and affiliate administrators. “They’ve constructed an empire,” the official mentioned on situation of anonymity. “They’re the folks pulling the strings behind the scenes.”

In paperwork filed as a part of the Ledogar’s case, Mullee hinted at pressure between the U.S. Marshals Service and the New York workplace: “Since this case began in 2015, you realize, the district has not been the identical. I really feel like {our relationships} with headquarters haven’t been the identical.”

“Simply take a look at the sheer variety of allegations which were leveled towards [Ledogar] which were unsubstantiated,” Mullee said in a submitting. “To me, that simply goes to indicate you that folks have been greedy at straws. They have been looking for something to degree towards him to get again at him for exposing the Job Pressure and for bringing sure points to gentle.”

In his 2020 letter to Chief Inspector Jacobs, Mullee wrote that Ledogar’s whistleblowing “set off a series of occasions that in the end pitted the taskforce and the Investigative Operations Division towards the district.”

“The animosity remains to be palpable,” he continued. “I really feel, as a district supervisor, that our district and our staff have been and proceed to be focused.”

Mullee mentioned that due to the strained relationship between activity power members and company personnel, he and Dunne took steps to cut back interplay between them, together with revoking the duty power’s entry to the company’s Central Islip health club and safe parking amenities. Mullee claims the company “reprimanded” them for doing so.

The alleged shoving incident, Mullee continued, occurred whereas the deputized officers have been briefly faraway from the workplace however permitted to stay on the duty power.

The feds would once more examine Mahoney’s claims in January 2016, after Jap District administration knowledgeable the company {that a} activity power member had peed in a field of animal crackers on Mahoney’s desk. This time, OPR took the lead.

The renewed probe adopted inquiries from Grassley’s workplace, in addition to the workplace of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who sought info from the Marshals Service on whether or not it will examine Mahoney’s complaints. (Gillibrand’s workplace confirmed to The Day by day Beast that it had contacted the company on Mahoney’s behalf.)

Due to Grassley’s Senate investigation, Ledogar’s submitting states, the Marshals Service’s basic counsel “agreed that it had been a battle of curiosity for IOD to have investigated” Mahoney’s claims on the shoving incident and reopened them. Senator Grassley’s workplace additionally contacted Mullee about Mahoney’s grievance, Ledogar says.

Grassley’s workplace didn’t return messages.

Ledogar testified beneath oath 4 instances between 2015 and 2017 as a part of the federal government’s investigations into Mahoney’s accusations. Every time, Ledogar says, he corroborated Mahoney’s allegations of harassment and discrimination.

In accordance with Ledogar, Mahoney settled her EEO grievance in 2019. She was transferred out of the duty power, a chance she thought of a dream job, for security causes; the duty power members accused of harassing her, nevertheless, have been permitted to return.

One of many accused bullies, a neighborhood police officer, misplaced his spot on the duty power in September 2015, after he allegedly confronted Ledogar at a New York Mets recreation about his help of Mahoney. Ledogar says the cop was so offended he frightened the officer would clock him.

Instantly after the cop’s ouster, Ledogar was named in an IOD investigation, prompted by the duty power supervisor’s claims that somebody broke into his workplace. In accordance with one in every of Ledogar’s filings, that investigation was closed as unsubstantiated in 2016.

That wouldn’t be the top of Ledogar’s troubles.

In June 2016, two months after he was interviewed a second time in Mahoney’s harassment case, Ledogar was once more focused by inside affairs—this time over accusations he made racist feedback within the office.

Ledogar contends these accusations have been fabricated by the identical activity power members who allegedly harassed Mahoney. Certainly, the cop accused of pushing Mahoney was the primary to lift the racism claims whereas company investigators questioned him concerning the shoving incident.

Throughout an inside affairs interview, the officer advised an inspector that higher-ups inside the activity power “have been sorry to see me go” and that “the rationale I needed to go away was due to an argument that I had with one in every of your bosses, Robert Ledogar, at a ball recreation…” He described Ledogar as a former good friend who even attended his wedding ceremony.

“That’s why I’m not on this activity power that I beloved,” the erstwhile fugitive hunter added, in response to a transcript of the interview. “That was a giant a part of my life.”

As a result of the inspector was trying into “workplace tradition,” the cop mentioned, he wished to reveal that Ledogar routinely used the n-word round staff. “He did it incessantly,” the deputy claimed. “I’m speaking about lots of of instances.”

Requested whether or not he ever reported Ledogar’s alleged language, the deputized officer answered no. “The explanation I didn’t do it was due to the blue line,” he added.

He then claimed Ledogar mentioned he was a silent associate of a combined martial arts health club on Lengthy Island that was owned by a convicted felon acquainted to the duty power. (Ledogar’s attorneys have referred to as this accusation “weird and patently false.”)

In March 2017, the U.S. Marshals Service proposed terminating Ledogar based mostly on this officer’s claims. One month later, data present, Chief Inspector Jones dismissed the racism accusations as unsubstantiated. Ledogar says greater than 100 legislation enforcement colleagues despatched Jones letters defending him towards these claims.

On the similar time, Ledogar realized he was the topic of two extra inside affairs investigations: one based mostly on his connection to a convicted felon and confidential informant who falsely claimed he was staying on the residence of Ledogar and his spouse whereas on non permanent launch; the opposite associated to further claims from the native cop that Ledogar used racial slurs, stole property, and used medication.

These investigations would proceed into 2020, when the Marshals Service eliminated him from workplace due to the informant probe. The inquiry based mostly on the cop’s racism claims was closed with out additional motion, Ledogar’s attorneys say.

In a single attraction submitting, Ledogar’s attorneys declare that the U.S. Marshals Service stored the racism probe “open for almost three years even if it knew at roughly the time the matter was first opened, and particularly upon Chief Inspector Jones’s April 26, 2017, dismissal of all fees… that the underlying accusations have been false or in any other case not credible.”

Within the informant case, the felon claimed to have intel on an alleged sexting scandal—later called a hoax by police—involving former Nassau County Govt Edward Mangano. Ledogar consulted with the native U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace, which opened an investigation. Whereas the informant offered help, Ledogar held cash for him and gave him a small mortgage to pay hire. Ledogar later advised OPR’s inside affairs that he agreed to assist the informant so he might proceed serving to legislation enforcement and assure he “stayed clear, out of bother, and useful.”

The inner affairs accusations, Ledogar says, stemmed from state corrections officers’ confusion over the felon’s launch. To be able to maintain the U.S. Legal professional’s workplace probe secret, the person allegedly made false claims about staying with Ledogar at his residence.

The New York Division of Corrections and Group Supervision filed a grievance concerning the circumstances surrounding the prisoner’s launch, resulting in an investigation with the Division of Justice Workplace of Inspector Common. After a federal prosecutor corroborated the legal probe, OIG declined to take motion.

However the U.S. Marshals Service used the claims to open a probe of its personal. In accordance with Ledogar’s filings, the identical native cop who accused him of racism whereas battling accusations by Mahoney had beforehand “made the patently absurd declare” that Ledogar owned a Lengthy Island health club with the informant.

Through the course of the U.S. Marshals’ inside affairs investigation, Ledogar was additionally questioned about photographs of a fugitive DJ and mannequin’s Playboy unfold discovered on his authorities cellphone.

Ledogar advised them he led a staff that arrested the mannequin on an extradition warrant at New York Metropolis’s JFK Airport in November 2015. Shortly afterward, U.S. Marshals personnel took photographs of the mannequin’s belongings to be inventoried together with her suitcases, jewellery and the journal, which positively recognized the mannequin as their suspect.

“He didn’t take the pictures of the journal for his private gratification and didn’t put up them or ship the pictures to anybody outdoors the course of his duties,” Ledogar’s submitting alleges.

“As a result of U.S. Marshals don’t have a union, Ledogar says, he and his spouse have paid for authorized charges with their financial savings and by borrowing cash from kin and buddies throughout the years-long battle towards his elimination from service.”

In the meantime, U.S. Marshals officers questioned Ledogar about his shut relationship with a person who occurred to be a convicted felon, for whom he wrote a personality reference on company letterhead. Ledogar claims he didn’t know his buddy had a legal report till 4 years into their friendship, and that he’d beforehand self-reported their ties to OPR. (In his letter, Mullee mentioned he and Ledogar met the pal across the similar time by means of a legislation enforcement nonprofit; the good friend was a businessman and supporter of the charity.)

Nonetheless, Ledogar’s colleagues proceed to stay by him regardless of the costs.

Final November, the Nationwide Police Protection Basis, a nonprofit that gives medical and authorized help to members of legislation enforcement, introduced it was supporting Ledogar over the Marshals Service and launching a authorized protection fund to “to assist help his authorized efforts as a way to problem his unjust termination.”

As a result of U.S. Marshals don’t have a union, Ledogar says, he and his spouse have paid for authorized charges with their financial savings and by borrowing cash from kin and buddies throughout the years-long battle towards his elimination from service.

His father, Charles Ledogar, referred to as the Marshals Service’s actions “a witch hunt towards my son, his household and buddies.” The elder Ledogar, a Vietnam vet and retired New York sanitation employee, advised The Day by day Beast: “To know that our authorities will go to any means to harm a great particular person for serving to folks, is disgusting.”

Craig Caine, a retired U.S. Marshal and fugitive activity power inspector in Nassau County who labored with Ledogar for years, advised The Day by day Beast that Ledogar was revered, well-liked, “handled everyone with equality” and infrequently tried to be a “troubleshooter” for the district.

“He’s going by means of hell and again,” Caine mentioned. “What these folks did to that poor man, I don’t even have an adjective to explain it. They threw their very own beneath the bus in help of outsiders that made some frivolous bogus lies.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-marshal-says-he-was-fired-for-protecting-a-gay-colleague?supply=articles&through=rss | U.S. Marshal Says He Was Fired for Defending a Homosexual Colleague


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