Suzanne Barr, Obama administration official, resigns amid sexual harassment claims


Mexican police guard a U.S. Embassy vehicle after it came under attack by unknown assailants in Santa Maria del Rio, Feb. 15, 2011. (El Pulso/AFP/Getty Images)

Suzanne Barr, a senior Obama administration official, resigned today amid accusations of sexual harassment, the Associated Press reported. Barr, a political appointee, had served as chief of staff to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. 

Barr told Morton in a resignation letter that she was stepping down to protect the reputation of the ICE, though she added that the accusations against her are "unfounded," according to the AP. 

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Barr's resignation comes after the New York Post revealed a damaging lawsuit against the Homeland Security Department, the agency of which the ICE is a part of. In the lawsuit, former Homeland Security agent James Hayes claims that male employees faced a "hostile work environment" under Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The lawsuit accuses Barr in particular of "sexually offensive" behavior intended to "humiliate and intimidate male employees," according to the Post. Hayes added that Barr and Napolitano were close friends. 

In addition, another former ICE employee has claimed that Barr offered a US diplomat oral sex, and yet another worker says that she told a senior employee that he is a "sexy motherf---," according to the New York Daily News