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WASHINGTON A senior civilian in the Army inspector general’s office sexually harassed employeesmade racially charged comments and talked about the “belly fat” of women, according to a Pentagon report released Wednesday that called for him to be disciplined.
Joseph Guzowski denied all the allegations, according to the report. The Pentagon’s inspector generalsidedwith four women who complained about sexist, racist and boorish behavior.
The inspector general concluded that “his overall course of conduct toward employees discussed in this report exhibited his failure to treat them with dignity and respect. We recommended that the Army take appropriate action regarding Mr. Guzowski.”
One of Guzowski’s duties, according to the report, was overseeing quality control inspections of Army programs, including its sexual harassment response and prevention program.
The Army acknowledged the findings about Guzowski’s conduct but noted that investigators foundno criminal action.
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“We are currently reviewing the results of that investigation todetermine appropriate action,” said Lt. “As this is under review, we cannotprovide any further comment at this time.”
The report was released one week after inspectors general for the armed services and the Pentagon appeared with top military brass before a panel of the House Armed Services Committee to discuss misconduct among senior civilians and officers. The Pentagon inspector general handles complaints against the most senior officers and civilians, such as Guzowski.
The report details several complaints against Guzowski, the first two involving the same woman.
Drinks and a forced kissGuzowski and the womanhad drinks at a restaurant near the Pentagon after work in April 2012, the report says. Guzowski drove her home,then gave her an unwanted kiss on the mouth, according to her account in the report. She showed investigators “how she used her hand to wipe the kiss from her mouth and stared at Mr. Guzowski to express her disapproval.”
Guzowksi told investigators he did not recall going out with the woman that night. Hedenied driving her home and kissing her.
“Not even,” he told investigators.
The woman told investigators Guzowski groped her in the same week. As they passed in a hallway, he grazed her buttocks with his hand, she said. After the incident, she told a fellow staffer “that Mr. Guzowski had just grabbed my ass.” The staffer told investigators the woman said shefelt “violated.”
Guzowski denied touching the woman “inappropriatelynumerous years ago!” according to an email he sent to investigatorsJune 6, 2017.
He allegedly groped another woman’s buttocksDec. 22, 2016, in a conference room. Guzowski “placed his right hand on the right side of her waist just above her hip, squeezed her waist, then slid his hand down onto the right side of her buttocks,” she told investigators.
The woman told a female military officeran hour after the alleged incident. The officer told investigators that the womanwas upset and had tears in her eyes, saying Guzowski had groped her “deliberately.”
Later, the woman told a retired Army major general whom she considered a mentor about the incident. The retired generalurged her to document her complaint,
according to text messages included in the report. On Jan. 3, 2017, the woman filed a formal complaint.
Guzowski denied touching the woman, according to the report.
Complaints of racial biasThe complaint about racial bias against Guzouski stems from a conference atRedstone Arsenal in Alabama on July 14, 2016. On an elevator, Guzowski referred to an African American woman as an “elevator boy,” or “elevator attendant,” the woman told investigators.
“She told us Mr. Guzowski’s comment had a ‘racial tone’ and a ‘derogatory tone.’ . She told us that she was ‘extremely irritated’ by Mr. Guzowski’s comment,” the report says.
The woman’s account was corroborated by another African American woman who was on the elevator and was offended by thecomments, according to the report. The first woman complained to Guzowski later that day.
Guzowski regarded his comments as a joke and did not mean them in a derogatory way, he told investigators.
“That’s what I want to do on retirement . you have the opportunity to interface with people, chit chat, learn things,” Guzowski said, according to the report. Investigators agreed that Guzowski failed to treat her with dignity. Guzowski could not recall the incident, according to the report.
Several women who worked in his office told investigators that Guzowski commented on their weight, “belly fat” and the need for at least one to go on a diet, the report says.
One woman quoted him as saying, “You should go ahead and do what I’m doing so that you can lose weight,” the report says. “She said she told Mr. Guzowski, ‘Really? Really?’ She told us that after he made the comment, she was ‘beside myself. I’m furious.’ ”
Guzowski denied making demeaning comments about the women’s weight, but he said he might havereferredto “Dunlap Disease,” anexpression about one’s belly lapping over one’s belt. Guzowski said he is often asked about his eating habits, which do not include bread or pasta, he told investigators.
Guzowski retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and has been a senior civilian official since 2004. He has been reassigned to another office pending the Army’s response to the Pentagon inspector general’s report and doesnot have access to classified information, said Cynthia Smith, an Army spokeswoman.