A former Defense Department intelligence official sexually harassed a subordinate on two occasions, according to a Pentagon inspector general report released Thursday, but will face no discipline, as he retired last year while the investigation was ongoing.
Jacques Grimes, who had served as a director in the office of the defense undersecretary for intelligence and security since 2016, twice while on official travel made sexual advances toward a junior member of his team, the investigation found, though Grimes denied the incidents when questioned.
The investigation began with an IG hotline call in late June 2021, alleging separate incidents on Sept. 26, 2019, and Jan. 6, 2020, while Grimes and the subordinate were traveling for work.
During the first, she reported, he said something to the effect of, “I think we’d be great in bed together. Let’s have sex,” while at a bar.
The two had been talking about his marital challenges, she recalled, and her experiences “in which male acquaintances had tried to pressure her into a physical relationship that she had no interest in pursuing, and how she felt they were trying to take advantage of her,” according to the investigation.
After she refused his suggestion to start a sexual relationship, she told investigators, he responded that “everybody in the office already thinks we are sleeping together, we might as well do it.”
She told two colleagues outside of her office about the incident, who told investigators that she felt he had tried to manipulate her into sex, and that she was concerned about what might happen on their next work trip.
During the January incident, she reported Grimes “asked her to join him for more drinks at his hotel in an effort to be alone with her, stay out drinking, or both,” according to the investigation.
That exchange was substantiated by a service member who “witnessed Mr. Grimes ‘gently’ grab Subordinate 1′s arm, pull her slightly forward, and invite her to join him for an alcoholic drink,” the report continues.
Soon after taking a new job in the Pentagon, according to the investigation, the subordinate told seven members of her new team about Grimes’ behavior, all seven of whom confirmed those conversations to the IG investigators.
In response to the allegations, Grimes denied discussing his marriage with the subordinate as well as asking her for sex or inviting her to his hotel room. He told the IG that they hadn’t done a thorough investigation, and questioned whether the service member witness was biased against him.
Reached for comment, Grimes told Military Times that he denies each of the allegations.
“I lost confidence in the investigation process which ignored statements of witnesses that contradicted the complainant’s version of the events and stand by my detailed rebuttal,” he said.
Grimes gave investigators several examples that he felt illustrated that the subordinate still had warm feelings toward him and did not try to avoid him, but the IG concluded that one of them was before the first harassment incident, and the other two constituted the subordinate dutifully updating her boss on her whereabouts rather than exchanges between friends.
Because he retired on March 31, according to the report, the results of the investigation will be placed in his personnel file, but he will face no official consequences.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.