Inspector General Releases Report On Sexual Harassment At Yellowstone

Apr 13, 2017

Credit daveynin via Flickr

A new report released Tuesday said while some claims of sexual abuse at Yellowstone National Park were exaggerated or untrue, the park does have a serious problem with quote, a “men’s club” culture.

The investigation followed an article in the Montana Pioneer last summer that described seasonal female employees who were physically groped or kept on staff in the park’s maintenance unit for sexual favors and that the supervisor participated in the abuse.

Yellowstone National Park Supervisor Dan Went said, after a hundred interviews with current and former employees, the report found some claims inaccurate.

“For an example, in terms of employees being kept on basically in exchange for a sexual relationship were found not to be true. There was found to be a consensual relationship for example,” said Went. "That should perhaps not have happened in the work place but it was a consensual relationship.”

But investigators did find that female employees experienced derogatory treatment on maintenance crews. Wenk said sexual harassment is something the Interior Department is investigating at many national parks.

“There’s a culture that exists in some maintenance units in Yellowstone that were not as respectful toward other employees, especially women,” said Wenk. “They found that there had been some verbal abuse, there’d been derogatory comments made. That has to stop and it is going to stop.”

Wenk said, now that the report has been released, he’ll begin disciplinary actions and policy changes to improve the park’s culture for female employees.