Biden CBP nominee Chris Magnus settled sexual harassment and retaliation case with former protection officer – Fox News

President Biden’s pick to lead Customs and Border Protection (CBP) once settled a case with a former member of his protective detail who claimed that the then-police chief engaged in sexual harassment and then retaliated against him when it was reported.

Chris Magnus, currently police chief of Tucson, Arizona, and former police chief of Richmond, California, settled the case – which stems from his time as chief in Richmond — in 2017 out of court for an undisclosed amount. He has since described the claim as “bogus” and that he was targeted because he is a gay man.

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In the 2015 complaint, which sued Magnus and the City of Richmond, a former member of his protective detail claimed that Magnus “while dressed in questionable civilian attire, approached plaintiff while walking his dog, and began touching plaintiff inappropriately on his arm, and began rubbing plaintiff on his upper leg, in an obvious sexual manner.”

Oct. 19, 2021: Chris Magnus testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

Oct. 19, 2021: Chris Magnus testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP) (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

The officer claimed that he told Magnus he was not interested and reported the conduct to his superior — and as a result Magnus’ demeanor and attitude to him changed. He claimed that Magnus then began denying him overtime, training and refused to allow him to serve in a number of positions.

Ultimately, the complaint says, Magnus leveraged a later domestic altercation between the cop and his former spouse to trigger an internal affairs investigation, although the plaintiff was never charged with a crime. 

The complaint said the “biased” investigation into the incident only looked for evidence to support his firing, and accused him of domestic battery and took possession of a number of unregistered firearms — even though the complaint says other police officers were not disciplined for having unregistered guns.

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“Then, when Plaintiff denied the charges during his interview with the internal affairs investigator, Defendant Magnus accused Plaintiff of ‘lying’ to the investigator, and then terminated Plaintiff’s employment for alleged dishonesty,” it states. He was terminated for domestic battery, defacing property, possessing unregistered guns and lying to an investigator.

The complaint says that Magnus was proposed as the hearing officer even though the officer had leveled a claim of sexual harassment against him.

According to a Courthouse News article at the time, the City of Richmond maintained that the officer was fired after an investigation found he made false statements about the domestic dispute and that he was the primary aggressor in the altercation with his ex.

The case was settled out of court in 2017. It was one of a number of lawsuits aimed at Magnus, with another accusing him of having made racist jokes and discriminated against Black officers.

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Magnus has dismissed the claims against him as “entirely bogus” in an interview this year with The New York Times — and said he was targeted because he is a gay man.

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(CBP badge.)

“There were still people at that time who felt I’m an easier target because I’m a gay man,” he said. “That’s not the first time in my career I’ve experienced that.”

The White House did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.