Today’s Grand Canyon sexual harassment report describes drunken federal employees groping women, wagers among park employees as to who gets laid the most often, and taking intimate pictures of women. It is not quite what visitors have in mind when thinking about the beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park.
The federal audit report on Grand Canyon sexual harassment cases was released by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General according to a January 12 Associated Press report. The investigation into the sexual harassment cases came after 13 present and former Grand Canyon employees had filed a complaint in September 2014 revealing that in more than 35 cases, women had been abused at the park for the past 15 years.
The abuse took place during the about a dozen or more annual federal employee river trips operated by the National Park Service. On the river trips, which can be as long as three weeks, male and female employees and contractors conduct science and restoration projects. Participants live together on those trips, cook their meals together, and sleep in close proximity.
Drinking partying, nudity, and general excess are often found during private and commercial trips on the river. They are not supposed to be happening during the federal employee trips.
According to a news report by Outside Live Bravely: “According to the federal audit released today, one river district employee said that the three boatmen allegedly tried to ‘get laid as much as possible’ and had ‘some sort of wager . . . or challenge between the three of them . . . to see who would get laid the most.’ The document describes a litany of serious workplace offenses ranging from unwanted groping and photographing a woman from beneath her skirt to one alleged rape of an intoxicated woman that went unreported.”
The sexual harassment, which occurred over 15 years during the Grand Canyon river trips, involved National Park Service boatmen, contractors, and other federal employees. The women who were victim to the male employees’ misconduct either tried to report the incidents or were too intimidated to report them.
In response to today’s Grand Canyon sexual harassment report, a National Parks Service spokesman said that “no NPS employee should ever experience the kind of behavior outlined in the report, and it is even more disappointing because previous efforts to change the culture at the River District of the Grand Canyon failed to improve working conditions.”