Metro

911 call: IRS agent put a gun in her mouth and sexually assaulted her

The Boston IRS branch operates out of the JFK Federal Building.
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File
The Boston IRS branch operates out of the JFK Federal Building.

The frantic call for help came from a college student who worked as a summer intern. She’d gone for drinks at a local bar with a co-worker. A celebratory night took a dark turn when she got into his car for a ride to the train station.

“Caller is a female, says he put a gun in her mouth and sexually assaulted her,” the 911 dispatcher announced over the Boston police radio system just after 10:30 p.m. July 26, directing officers to South Station.

“We’ve got the victim,” an officer radioed back after locating the 21-year-old woman at a train terminal, according to audio of the transmissions recorded by Broadcastify. “I got the suspect’s name. It’s Jamie Clarke . . . he’s an investigator with the IRS.”

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Police were urged to be on the lookout for his car: a tan, four-door sedan owned by the federal government. He left South Station and fled toward South Boston, according to the broadcast.

Jamie Clarke BPD

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Four months later, James R. Clarke — a special agent in the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation office in Boston — has not been charged with any crimes and has continued to work on criminal investigations for the agency.

Boston police Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, who spoke about the July 26 report without identifying Clarke by name, said the agent was interviewed the next day and police seized his firearm and car for testing.

“The firearm remains in our custody,” McCarthy said. “It remains an active investigation on our end. We turned over what we had to the district attorney’s office.”

Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk DA’s office, declined to discuss the case, saying, “We do not comment on active investigations.”

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Clarke, 43, a lawyer who is married with three children, denies allegations that he sexually assaulted the woman, according to his lawyer.

“He’s done nothing wrong,” attorney Michael Doolin said. “He’s been completely cooperative with the investigation by police and he looks forward to being exonerated.”

During a brief telephone interview Thursday, Doolin acknowledged that his client had not been placed on leave and was continuing to work.

However, his duties are limited because neither his .40-caliber Glock nor his IRS car have been returned to him, according to several people familiar with the investigation.

The IRS declined to comment on what action, if any, it had taken internally against the agent as a result of the allegations.

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In response to questions about Clarke’s work status, the IRS released a statement Thursday saying, “The IRS holds our employees to high standards, and we do not tolerate inappropriate behavior. When questions arise, the IRS works closely with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.”

‘He’s been completely cooperative with the investigation . . . and he looks forward to being exonerated.’

— Michael Doolin, lawyer for James Clarke 

The agency released the same statement, word for word, after the agent who led the IRS Criminal Investigation Office in Philadelphia was charged in September with sexually assaulting a female agent at a conference in St. Louis. Gregory Allen Floyd was accused of pushing his hand between the woman’s legs and groping her, according to police.

Jennifer Drobac, a professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, called it “disturbing” that Clarke is allowed to continue working despite allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman at gunpoint. Most companies would place an employee facing such allegations on administrative leave, with or without pay, until the charges were substantiated or unsubstantiated, she said.

“It’s really easy for an employer, whether the IRS or a private company, to say we take sexual harassment very seriously, but they don’t if the message that they are sending to their employees is that nothing will be done to secure a situation which might involve a felony and a violent sexual attack,” Drobac said.

She also questioned why it has taken so long to determine whether criminal charges will be brought against Clarke.

McCarthy, the Boston Police spokesman, said investigations take time and the case was not handled any differently because Clarke is a law enforcement officer.

“There are certain steps we have to take to ensure people’s rights on both sides, and nothing was done any differently in this case,” he said. “We continue to work closely with the district attorney’s office.”

The college student did not respond to an inquiry from the Globe about the woman’s allegations. She was hired as an unpaid summer intern and worked as an investigative analyst, assisting agents working on criminal investigations. Clarke was assigned to a DEA task force and investigated financial crimes, including money laundering, identity theft, and tax evasion.

According to several people familiar with the investigation, after work on July 26, Clarke invited the woman to join co-workers for drinks at The Kinsale, an Irish pub at Center Plaza, located across the street from the IRS offices in the JFK Building. Afterward, Clarke drove the woman to South Station in his government car, they said.

She called 911 minutes after getting out of the car, and reported that Clarke had put a gun in her mouth and sexually assaulted her, according to the audio recorded by Broadcastify.

“She was obviously terrified and frightened and called right away,” said Boston attorney Howard Friedman, adding that victims of sexual assault are often reluctant to come forward out of fear for the impact going public could have on their lives. Friedman specializes in civil rights and police misconduct cases but has no connection to this case.

The student who accused Clarke of sexual assault did not return to her internship at the agency after that night, according to people familiar with the investigation.

On Friday, after inquiries from the Globe, a DEA spokesman said Clarke was no longer assigned to that agency’s task force, but declined to say when he was removed.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Shelley Murphy can be reached at shelley.murphy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.