Stars & Stripes reports on some “new” developments at the [in]famous USACIL.
The military’s premier crime lab should be a place of sober scientific research, but lately it seems more like the set of a soap opera consumed with scandal and intrigue.
In less than four years, at least six internal investigations have been launched and six complaints filed against managers. The accusations and counter-accusations include racism, sexual harassment, assault and fraud.
Oooh, and how’s this:
The lab’s former lawyer says she was retaliated against for blowing the whistle. The military counters that she made off with official records.
Interestingly it is ARMY CID doing the investigation – of their own lab.
At one point, misconduct by an employee prompted an FBI search of one of the lab’s offices. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Allen Southmayd, a 63-year-old handwriting expert.
Recent hires have only worsened morale, the employees said. Mark Dale, a former director of the New York State Police laboratory system, was hired to oversee training despite a recommendation by New York’s inspector general in 2007 that he be criminally investigated for a scandal there. He was accused of keeping secret misconduct at the lab and mistakes by a discredited analyst. He was never prosecuted.
McClatchy has a piece, with this interesting point:
When Richard Tontarski Jr. arrived at the military’s crime lab in 2007, it was still reeling from revelations of misconduct by two of its own. Tontarski brought with him an impressive resume and reassuring promises of raising the lab’s standards.
Since then, Tontarski has become one of the main sources of controversy. Fellow employees at the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory have filed three complaints against him. Those involved in the disputes accuse him and other managers of punishing employees who raise valid concerns.
If, and I say if, all of this is true, do you trust them now – to paraphrase a telephone / commjhnications company.