U.S. Official Inappropriately Targeted Veterans, Probe Finds

(NewsGlobal.com)- According to a report from the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General, the former chief operating officer from the Armed Forces Retirement Home had sexually harassed three employees, retaliating against one after she rejected his repeated advances.

James Branham resigned from his position in November 2021 and a new COO was appointed the following month.

After an investigation into the matter, the Inspector General concluded that Branham’s behavior was especially egregious given his senior position and the authority he had over female subordinates.

Officials from the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Retirement Home declined to say if legal action will be pursued against Branham. The IG will be forwarded its report to Washington Headquarters Services so it is included in Branham’s personnel file.

Stephen Rippe, the CEO of the Armed Forces Retirement Home commended the three women who cooperated with the IG’s investigation and reiterated that no employee should face harassment in the workplace.

Rippe quickly pointed out that the IG report did not fault the Retirement Home’s policies or procedures.

The report concluded that Branham’s actions “created an intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment.” The IG determined that Branham retaliated against one of the women by treating her differently regarding telework during the early months of the pandemic.

A retired Army Lt. Col., James Branham became the chief operating officer at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in February 2018 after the previous COO was fired in September 2017.

The Retirement Home is open to certain retired and former enlisted service members and their spouses. It has campuses in both Washington DC and Gulfport, Mississippi. Branham worked at the DC campus.

Branham dated one of his subordinates in 2019. Investors found photographs Branham sent from his personal email to his government email account showing the woman “in various states of dress and undress.”

Another woman alleged that Branham retaliated against her after she rebuffed numerous sexual advances. He refused to let her work remotely after she came down with COVID symptoms, despite other employees being afforded the option.