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High-ranking Border Patrol official retires after female employees accuse him of sexual misconduct: Report

High-ranking Border Patrol official retires after female employees accuse him of sexual misconduct: Report

The acting deputy chief of the United States Border Patrol, the second-highest-ranking position in the agency, recently opted to retire in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations lodged against him by female employees, two sources reportedly familiar with the situation told NBC News Tuesday.

Joel Martinez, a 31-year veteran with the Border Patrol, was placed on administrative leave over the alleged misconduct. In addition to becoming the acting deputy chief in January, Martinez also served as the chief patrol agent for the Laredo Sector in Texas.

The now-retired officer is under investigation by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility just one month after he assumed the new role.

According to the sources, multiple female coworkers accused Martinez of sexual misconduct while he was working in Laredo, NBC reported. The news outlet stated that the women alleged that Martinez made “aggressive comments” about his desire to have sex with them. The females reportedly felt threatened and pressured by Martinez.

He was suspended last Thursday, three CBP officials told the Washington Post.

Erin Waters, a spokesperson for CBP, told the news outlet that the agency does “not tolerate misconduct within our ranks.”

“When we discover any alleged or potential misconduct, we immediately refer it for investigation and cooperate fully with any criminal or administrative investigations,” Waters said. “Federal privacy laws prohibit discussion of individual cases.”

NBC News reported that Martinez’s move to retire amid the ongoing investigation means he will not face professional repercussions even if the allegations are substantiated. Additionally, the agency’s findings are unlikely to be revealed unless it makes a criminal referral and the Department of Justice decides to prosecute the case.

Tony Barker, the Border Patrol’s former acting chief of the law enforcement operations directorate for the agency, resigned last year after he was accused of pressuring a female employee to perform sexual favors. Barker denied the allegations.

“The allegations that I pressured any woman for sexual favors or victimized them are entirely and unequivocally false. I am proud of my 21 years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol. I am now taking this time to focus on my family and seek other opportunities,” Barker stated.

The Washington Post reported that CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility completed over 800 investigations into alleged misconduct in fiscal year 2022. Those investigations resulted in 12 indictments, 18 arrests, 10 convictions, and 152 administrative sanctions.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →