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Former BOP Director Fingered in Sex Scandal

In 1992 Bureau of Prisons (BOP) em- ployee Steven McPeek quietly settled a sexual harassment complaint he leveled against then-BOP director J. Michael Quinlan, according to recently filed court papers. McPeek alleged in his 1992 complaint that Quinlan made sexual advances beginning in August 1990 while they traveled together on government business.

Quinlan resigned as director of the prisons bureau two months after McPeek's sexual harassment claim was settled, a move BOP officials attributed to "health problems." At the time, Quinlan was also being investigated on suspicion of trying to silence a federal prisoner who was about to go public with claims that the prisoner sold marijuana to then-vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle in the 1970's.

After retiring from the BOP, Quinlan joined the management team of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). McPeek was re-assigned to another job within the Department of Justice (DOJ).

But McPeek now alleges that the terms of the 1992 settlement, which required that the complaint remain confidential and that there would be no retaliation against him, were breached by DOJ officials who used the information in a subsequent "campaign of retaliation" against him. He now seeks $800,000 in damages, alleging that his DOJ supervisors and colleagues made it clear they were aware of his 1992 sexual harassment complaint, and that caused him to be excluded from important meetings, presentations and decisions, denying him the opportunity to advance his career.

All of those actions, McPeek's lawyers allege, arise from the 1992 harassment claim that accused Quinlan of attempting to fondle, grab and engage McPeek in sexual banter.

On two consecutive evenings in 1991, Quinlan allegedly invited McPeek, then Quinlan's 29-year-old assistant at the Bureau, to his hotel room in Texas. The first night, McPeek said he rebuffed Quinlan's advances after the director "embraced" him.

The second night, McPeek said Quinlan directed him to take off his shoes "and place his legs on the bed where Mr. Quinlan was lying. When Mr. McPeek attempted to leave the hotel room, Mr. Quinlan embraced him and pressed his erect penis against Mr. McPeek's body."

The following morning, Quinlan allegedly apologized to McPeek for his behavior and assured him "it would never happen again." McPeek said the harassment continued nonetheless.

Quinlan, speaking through CCA spokeswoman Susan Hart, categorically denied the allegations. He was recently named interim president of Prison Realty, in addition to being president and chief operating officer of CCA. His earlier roles with the Nashville-based private prison corporation included serving as CCA's director of strategic planning, and as CEO of CCA Prison Realty Trust after the real estate investment trust was formed by CCA in 1997 to own its own prisons.

Sources: USA Today, Wall Street Journal

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