A U.S. House committee alleged Wednesday that a former high-ranking federal police official had sex in government cars while on official duty -- one of a series of incidents of misconduct the committee said it identified at the federal National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland.
The letter from the U.S. House Science Committee also detailed missing police equipment, security lapses and alleged time-and-attendance fraud. The letter was obtained by the News4 I-Team.
The agency was already under scrutiny after the police official, NIST police lieutenant Christopher Bartley, pleaded guilty in August to a federal charge of attempting to make methamphetamine inside a secured building on the grounds. That incident was discovered in July, when there was an explosion in a NIST building.
The U.S. House committee letter Wednesday said, “Officer Bartley allegedly had sexual relations with other NIST employees on agency property, in vehicles owned by the government, while on official duty.”
The letter was written to management of NIST, a federal research facility that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The House committee's letter also indicated that time and attendance fraud occurs "regularly" at NIST Police Services. The committee said its review found Bartley’s timesheets indicated he worked 84 hours of overtime during a two-week span.
The committee’s letter also said thousands of dollars of police equipment has gone missing, and it asked for access to and background information from the facility.
His attorney said Bartley denies the sex allegations detailed by the House Science Committee. He did not offer comment on the other allegation. NIST confirmed it had received the committee's letter and would provide the information requested.
NIST employs about 3,000 scientists, engineers and others on a 578-acre campus about 15 miles north of Washington, D.C. Its grounds are closed to the public.
News reports in July about the explosion in NIST Building 236 caught the attention of the House committee. Bartley reported to work July 18; that evening, he went into a room where he could make meth under a chemical fume hood, according to his plea agreement.
The explosion he caused about 7:30 p.m. blew four shatterproof windows out of their frames, sending them 22 to 33 feet from the building.
Bartley suffered burns on his arms and singed eyebrows and hair, according to the U.S. Attorney.
The blast sent the temperature to 180 degrees, and a silent heat alarm activated. Responding firefighters saw Bartley leaving the room, according to the U.S. Attorney. He took items from the scene and dumped them in trash near the building and at another NIST building.
Investigators searched the room and the trash and found equipment and household items for making meth. In Bartley's car they found a recipe and more equipment.
In August Bartley’s attorney, Steven Van Grack, said Bartley was conducting an "unauthorized training experiment" at the time of the incident that "clearly failed." Bartley was trying to show how easy it is to make meth, Van Grack said.