Report: Trump State Department employee has been accused of sexual assault by 5 people
The Trump administration's vetting process is being questioned after a recent State Department appointee was found to have had multiple allegations of sexual assault in his background.
According to ProPublica, which broke the story on Wednesday, "Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. that includes arranging meetings with the president."
But prior to working with the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, he was a cadet at The Citadel where he was reportedly accused of sexual assault by five different students.
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ProPublica says that the first known incident happened in April 2009 when a male cadet accused Munoz of kissing and groping him after consensually spooning while watching TV.
The media outlet notes that he was given a warning after the case was mediated by the school, but four others came forward with similar allegations after Munoz graduated, and he was subsequently prohibited from being on campus.
In 2014, Munoz asked that the ban be relaxed. Though the school's investigation into accusations determined that "certain assaults likely occurred," his request was granted. Further, he was never prosecuted.
Munoz's lawyer, Andy Savage has denied wrongdoing by his client, telling ProPublica, "I believe that certain disgruntled cadets made exaggerated claims of wrongdoing concerning Munoz's participation in boorish behavior that was historically tacitly approved, if not encouraged, by the Institution."
Meanwhile, a State Department spokesperson has confirmed Munoz's new role there but declined to reveal his security status out of privacy, notes the New York Daily News.
The Trump administration has been criticized for failing to conduct a thorough vetting of other appointees including former national security adviser Michael Flynn; CNN recently reported that while he had the support of the Trump family, "Flynn did not have something just as important: a complete, new, deeper internal vet of his associations and potential conflicts."
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The president has since blamed the vetting problem on his predecessor, saying that Flynn "was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration."
Critics have also questioned the hiring of Trump's national security aide Sebastian Gorka who has been accused of being a member of a Nazi-linked group called Vitézi Rend and who does not yet seem to have the security clearance necessary to do his job.
Last week, the Daily Beast reported, based on inside sources, that the administration is trying to find him a new role outside the White House.