An internal VA official admitted Friday that he “inadvertently” circulated the claims made by a VA employee in a paper that purported to prove that the agency was hiding the extent of the sexual assault epidemic at the VA.
In a statement to The Hill, which first reported the allegations, David P. Ringer, a senior vice president at the Department of Veterans Affairs, acknowledged that the claims in the paper “were in error and were not intended to be used in any way to recommend action.”
The paper was prepared by the VA Office of Inspector General, the VA inspector general’s office, and a team of investigators, who determined the claims were “unfounded.”
“The VA IG’s Office did not use the paper in any manner to recommend any actions or provide information,” Ringer wrote.
“It was an error and the paper was not intended for the VA to use in any other way, including in an election year.”
In a report to Congress last year, VA officials said they did not know how many sexual assaults were occurring at the Veterans Administration.
They blamed a “lack of awareness” and a lack of resources.
In recent months, several lawmakers have demanded the VA Inspector General conduct a full audit into the agency’s handling of sexual assault allegations at the agency.