Lawmaker calls TSA sexual harassment, assault allegations "outrageous"

- A Congressman is responding to a FOX 46 investigation calling allegations of sexual harassment, assault and retaliation by a top official at the Federal Air Marshal Service "outrageous" and "unacceptable."

"Some people who otherwise do a good job have adopted these Mad Men 1950's rules of how they treat women," said Rep. Darren (D-Florida). "And they have no business in our modern day federal government. And we see with the rise of the #MeToo movement women are speaking up and allies like myself will be listening, watching and supporting them."

Sonya Labosco, a cop turned air marshal supervisor, said she felt motivated to join after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I felt it was my calling," said Labosco.

Despite her calling, she says her 14 years at the TSA were tainted. In a federal lawsuit, she accused her then boss, Charles "Chas" Cook, of sexual harassment, physical assault and retaliation. Cook has denied the allegations.

Cook's LinkedIn profile says he is the Deputy Assistant Director at the Federal Air Marshal Service. He is listed as a "branch manager" overseeing "Flight Programs," according to an organizational chart provided to FOX 46. 

The TSA says it "thoroughly investigated" Labosco's complaints and found them "unsupported." However, in 2015, the TSA settled her federal lawsuit, with your tax dollars, for a reported six figure amount. 

Given the #MeToo movement, FOX 46 asked the TSA would like to interview Labosco, or other witnesses, who say they were never interviewed at the time. The TSA responded that it considers the matter "resolved."

"Anytime someone is asserting power and control over someone else that can be traumatizing," said Cori Goldstein, the director of the Sexual Trauma Resource Center at the Safe Alliance, a non-profit that works with survivors of sexual assault. 

Goldstein has no involvement in Labosco's case and can't comment on it but says, in general, allegations of sexual harassment and assault need to be believed.

Since the start of the #MeToo movement last year, Goldstein says calls to their hotline are up 30 percent. Since 2010, the number of workplace sexual harassment complaints have declined, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

"It's extremely important that we believe survivors of sexual assaults," said Goldstein. "Statistics show that not many people lie about being sexually assaulted. So, it's really important that we offer that support, listen to them and believe them."

Correction: FOX 46 originally reported that Mr. Cook was the "number three" official overseeing the Federal Air Marshal Service, which is incorrect. Mr. Cook's LinkedIn profile says he is the "Deputy Assistant Director" of the FAMS. An organizational chart provided to FOX 46 lists his title as "branch manager" over "Flight Programs."  

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