September 20, 2018

Deloitte ‘Betrayed Me,’ Alleged Sexual Assault Victim Told CEO in Email

Deloitte sign

A former Deloitte Bermuda staffer who has accused a senior partner in the Big 4 firm’s New York office of sexual assault emailed Deloitte LLP CEO Cathy Engelbert in 2017 about the alleged attack and said the firm “betrayed me,” according to a July 9 NBC News report.

The senior partner has not been charged with a crime and still is employed by Deloitte.

First reported by the Australian Financial Review early last week, the woman said she was assaulted in a Bermuda hotel room by the senior partner in the early morning of Aug. 21, 2015, after she was among a group of Deloitte U.S. and Bermuda employees who had after-hours drinks in the hotel bar the evening of Aug. 20.

The senior partner, who often frequented Bermuda as part of his job, brought the woman back to his hotel room under false pretenses, according to published reports. She told police that the partner blocked the door and physically attacked her after they entered the hotel room.

The alleged incident is under criminal investigation by authorities in Bermuda. But because “the suspect resides in another jurisdiction and there are currently insufficient grounds to satisfy an extradition request … the matter is held in abeyance,” police told the Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda.

The accuser, who worked in client services, filed a report with police after the senior partner made an unexpected visit to the Deloitte office in Bermuda three months after the alleged sexual assault. The partner, who is in his 40s, has not traveled back to Bermuda since the police investigation began.

The woman, who does not want her identity to be revealed, is accusing Deloitte of not taking her claims seriously and for covering up the alleged incident, saying she was “treated as a threat to the firm and pushed out, while the partner was protected.”

According to NBC News, the accuser said in her email to Engelbert:

“In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, I feel compelled to tell you my Deloitte #metoo story,” the woman wrote. “He tried to rape me. I resisted and shouted, and so he beat me up and strangled me. I eventually managed to fight him off and I left.”

Twelve days later, after the woman had followed up with another email, Engelbert wrote back.

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” Engelbert wrote, offering no further reply.

Engelbert, who was the first woman chief executive of a Big 4 firm in the United States when she was elected in 2015, was recently not renominated by Deloitte’s board for a second four-year term, according to the Wall Street Journal. Deloitte officials have said that the alleged sexual assault did not factor into the board’s decision to not renominate Engelbert.

The NBC News article goes on to say:

The woman claims [the senior partner’s] absence from Bermuda is Deloitte’s way of protecting him from prosecution and shielding the company from controversy.

“Deloitte betrayed me,” she went on in the email to Engelbert, explaining her belief that her former employer had informed the partner of the police investigation.

The woman told the Australian Financial Review that she refused to cooperate with Deloitte’s internal investigation until the police investigation was completed. But despite promises that she would be interviewed as part of the Deloitte investigation, the woman said the external counsel looking into the matter never contacted her.

A Deloitte spokesperson told Going Concern in an email last week that the Australian Financial Review article “misrepresents our organization’s values and our actions by citing inaccurate information, making erroneous assumptions, and assigning improper intent.”

A statement from the firm regarding the alleged attack said in part, “Deloitte US promptly engaged an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation, including interviewing witnesses, and could not corroborate any of the allegations. Subsequent assertions regarding the handling of this matter are simply not consistent with the facts.”

The firm also stated that, “We encourage reporting concerns of inappropriate and unethical behavior including harassment, and we investigate any such complaints and take serious actions when policies are violated.”

The woman told Engelbert in the email that she hopes the firm takes “real action for the women who remain employed at Deloitte,” according to NBC News. “You failed me, but you do not have to fail them.”

[NBC] [AFR]

Image: Shutterstock/Bascar

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