May 24, 2012- On Wednesday, Senators who are investigating the prostitution scandal that took place in Cartagena, Colombia with members of the Secret Service, announced that a number of reported allegations of misconduct have taken place in the past. This points to a culture of carousing inside the agency, said senators, as they urged Mark Sullivan, the Director to look behind the Cartagena scandal as just a onetime error.
Repeatedly during the two-hour session, it seemed as though there was a lack of communication between Director Sullivan and the senators. Nevertheless, Sullivan apologized to the senators for the first time since the incident took place that tarnished the image of the force that protects the U.S. president.
At the end of the hearing, it looked as though Sullivan would keep his job even though a number of new details emerged leaving little doubt, the senators said that a pattern of sexual misconduct is rooted in the agency.
Senators said that first Sullivan must assume that what took place in Cartagena was not a onetime incident or else the same thing will happen again and again. The incident became public when an agent refused to pay what a prostitute said he owed her. The Secret Service had been at the hotel in Cartagena preparing for the arrival of President Obama at a summit.
Twelve agents were implicated in the incident with eight of them losing their jobs, three were cleared and one was stripped of all security clearances. Sullivan said that two agents whom initially resigned over the incident are now fighting to regain their jobs.
Sixty-four complaints or allegations of sexual misconduct against members of the Secret Service were placed over the past five years. They included inappropriate relationships with foreign women, nonconsensual intercourse and thirty incidents where alcohol was involved.