In one email, Hinkle complained that he was unable to defend himself in an AP story last week about allegations that he bullied whistleblower employees, threatened to close Dublin if they kept speaking up about misconduct, and stonewalled a Congresswoman who sought to speak candidly with staff and inmates at the prison last month.
The Justice Department says it is gravely concerned about allegations that a high-ranking federal prison official entrusted to end sexual abuse and cover-ups at a women’s prison known as the “rape club” may have taken steps to suppress a recent complaint about staff misconduct, AP reports.
Deputy Regional Director T. Ray Hinkle is accused of attempting to silence a female employee who said she had been harassed by a manager at the prison — the federal correctional institution in Dublin, California — by meeting with her personally in violation of established protocols.
“These allegations, if true, are abhorrent, and the Department of Justice takes them very seriously,” the Justice Department said in response to questions from the Associated Press about Hinkle’s alleged behavior.
Hinkle, who pledged to staff that he would help Dublin “regain its reputation” during a stint as acting warden that ended this week, was also admonished by his bosses at the federal Bureau of Prisons for sending all-staff emails that were critical of agency leadership and policies.
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