Ex-FEMA Leader Accused: Hired Women for Male Co-Workers To Sleep With


An internal seven-month investigation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency uncovered disturbing sexual assault allegations against the agency’s former chief component human capital officer.

The Washington Post obtained an executive summary of the preliminary investigation and reported that Corey Coleman allegedly hired women so male co-workers could try to have sexual relations with them.

Coleman resigned on June 18 after leading the personnel department since 2011. Officials have reportedly not been able to question him since his resignation.

FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long said that this alleged harassment and misconduct has been a “systemic problem going on for years.” He added that some of the reported behavior could “rise to the level of criminal activity,” according to The Post.

Although Coleman’s name was redacted from the preliminary report, FEMA officials confirmed he was the individual under investigation.

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According to the report, Coleman hired male friends as well as women he met at bars and on dates, and he allegedly promoted some of these people to other agency roles without going through the proper federal hiring protocols.

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He also reportedly “had sexual relationships with at least two subordinates, one in 2015 and another in 2017-’18,” according to Vox. These women accompanied him on work trips, though one admitted to having very few duties while on these trips.

“When the first woman ended the relationship, Coleman pressured her for dates — then denied her a promotion and tried to fire her, she told FEMA investigators. She said she kept her job by telling him she might be willing to go on dates with him again, according to the preliminary report,” The Post reported.

“When the second woman said she wanted to leave FEMA, Coleman created a new position for her for which she admitted to investigators she was unqualified. He also allowed her to sometimes work from his house, the report said.”

In a statement, Long said, “These allegations are deeply disturbing and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at FEMA.”

He told The Post that 73 current and former employees were interviewed, and 98 people gave sworn statements about this issue. Additionally, people in the human resources department left over the years because of Coleman’s “unacceptable leadership style, good people who wouldn’t put up with it,” according to Long.

Long has reportedly referred several of the cases to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. The first complaints about Coleman were received in 2015, but it is unclear if the previous administration followed through with the investigation referral.

“The biggest problem I may solve here may be the eradication of this cancer,” he said. “How many complaints were not heard? I’ve got to make sure we have a safe working environment for our employees.”

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Long told The Post that there was such low morale in Coleman’s department that he was placed on the sidelines in three different instances, but “each time, he was allowed back to his job.”

A study by the Merit Systems Protection Board from this past spring found that 20.9 percent of female employees reported experiencing any kind of sexual harassment within the previous two years.

Furthermore, 45 percent of employees reported that their co-workers were the ones committing sexual harassment, and 12 percent reported that it was their higher level supervisor.

This kind of behavior is sickening and unacceptable in any organization, but especially in a government entity! Someone needs to rectify this situation and create a safe workspace for everyone.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith