James Ferro, the Director of Operations with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Special Investigations Unit, was arrested for sexually harassing his subordinate employee, according to Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scottand Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Subordinate employee sexually harassed

He is accused of sexually explicit acts that include kissing, hugging, and other acts as the one that occurred around Feb. 17th, 2012, when he grabbed the employee’s genitals in order to degrade and abuse the employee and to gratify his sexual desire. The subordinate employee reported this incident, which resulted in retaliation from Ferro who altered her work schedule and stopped her from earning overtime pay.

Pattern of harassment

The harassment occurred at the DOCCS office in Albany, and continued for six years between January of 2008 and March of 2014, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. There was a pattern of such incidents that also included one where Ferro touched his own genitals and asked the employee to smell his hand. Ferro probably should not be working with other people.

Utterly unprofessiona

The Attorney General said that the arrest was a clear message that such harassment and abuse of positions of authority would not be tolerated while safety and respect in workplace is what every New Yorker is entitled to. He also said that sexual harassment had no place in New York.

Ironically, the defendant served as director of operations of the DOCCS’ special investigations unit. The unit was in charge of investigating alleged misconduct by employees. According to sexual harassment attorneys, Ferro might have to spend two years in prison if convicted on charges of second-degree coercion, official misconduct, forcible touching, and second-degree harassment.

James Ferro does not respect the law or other people, certainly not females. What was he thinking?

James Ferro does not respect the law or other people, certainly not females. What was he thinking?

Currently, Ferro has been put on administrative leave and is not an employee of the agency, as the matter is under investigation. Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said that Ferro was charged with serious crimes that he committed against his own employees, and engaged in assaulting, bullying behavior. The task of the unit for which Ferro was the director, was to oversee investigations of misconduct of employees and yet, he used his power and authority to harass and commit outrageous offenses against them, according to Scott.

Inspector to continue investigations

Scott said that no employee should have to report to work knowing they would be victimized and felt powerless against such harassment. The Inspector also said that the investigations would continue and would hold accountable those that were privy to these acts, or were aware of the misconduct, and the deplorable acts of the defendant would not be tolerated. Ferro is scheduled to reappear in court on Jan. 26th and is housed currently at Albany City Court.

Ferro’s sexual harassment attorney declined to comment. In April last year, the Times Union had reported that Ferro had threatened the female employee and said that it would hurt her career if she went ahead and filed a complaint against him. Criminal charges against Ferro will be prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s office. It now seems like an ex-corrections official needs correction himself.