Plain­tiffs face suit from D.C. spy school

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY IAN SHAPIRA

Last month, a grad­u­ate school for aspir­ing spies and diplo­mats was sued by three former and cur­rent em­ploy­ees, who al­leged that an ex-se­nior ad­viser co­erced them into sex­u­ally abu­sive en­coun­ters.

This past week, the Daniel Mor­gan Grad­u­ate School of Na­tional Se­cu­rity fought back, coun­ter­su­ing two of the al­leged vic­tims and fil­ing a cross-claim against the former ad­min­is­tra­tor, 72-yearold Mark W. Levin.

In doc­u­ments filed in D.C. Su­pe­rior Court, Daniel Mor­gan ar­gues that the al­leged vic­tims — two of whom held high-rank­ing po­si­tions at the school — vi­o­lated their obli­ga­tions to their em­ployer and com­mit­ted fraud by not re­port­ing their al­leged abuse by Levin much ear­lier.

The school in North­west Wash­ing­ton con­tends that the al­leged vic­tims ac­tu­ally col­lab­o­rated with Levin, Daniel Mor­gan’s former se­nior ad­viser to the pres­i­dent, who rep­re­sented him­self as a spy, but may not have been. Daniel Mor­gan ar­gues that the al­leged vic­tims de­frauded the school, keep­ing their abuse se­cret to pre-

their well-paid jobs.

“[They] not only con­cealed their re­la­tion­ship with Levin in an ef­fort to se­cure and pro­tect their po­si­tions, but as­sisted Levin in hir­ing other men with whom Levin was en­gaged in re­la­tion­ships, and con­ceal­ing those re­la­tion­ships,” Daniel Mor­gan ar­gued in court pa­pers. “Levin and [the al­leged vic­tims] per­mit­ted a cul­ture to de­velop wherein it pur­port­edly be­came a ‘rite of pas­sage’ for young male [Daniel Mor­gan] em­ploy­ees to en­ter into a re­la­tion­ship with Levin.”

In their law­suit against Daniel Mor­gan, the three men in their early 20s who work or used to work at the school are seek­ing $150 mil­lion. Their com­plaint also named three other de­fen­dants: Levin, who was sus­pended and then fired; Alan B. Kelly, Daniel Mor­gan’s re­cently named act­ing pres­i­dent; and Abby S. Mof­fat, the chair­woman of Daniel Mor­gan’s board of trus­tees and the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Diana Davis Spencer Foun­da­tion, which gives the school about $7 mil­lion annually.

Ta­mara Miller, a former Jus­tice De­part­ment deputy chief who rep­re­sents the al­leged vic­tims, de­clined to com­ment.

Levin did not re­turn mes­sages seek­ing com­ment.

Mof­fat and Kelly de­clined an in­ter­view re­quest.

In a state­ment to The Wash­ing­ton Post, the school said the young men “have been able to drag the names of Alan Kelly, Abby Mof­fat, and the Daniel Mor­gan Grad­u­ate School it­self through the mud on the ba­sis of al­le­ga­tions alone, with­out hav­ing to pro­vide any ev­i­dence or find­ing by a judge, jury, or other trier of fact,” the school said. “Mark Levin’s al­leged con­duct was inex- cus­able, and for those plain­tiffs to aid and abet this be­hav­ior while pub­licly play­ing the role of vic­tim is shame­ful.”

The al­leged vic­tims, two of whom live in North­ern Vir­ginia, claim in their law­suit that Levin ma­nip­u­lated them into sex­u­ally ex­plicit med­i­cal ex­ams at his apart­ment build­ing in Ar­ling­ton County. Levin con­vinced them, the law­suit ar­gues, that the naked phys­i­cals were re­quired to main­tain their Daniel Mor­gan jobs and their can­di­dacy for a clan­des­tine in­tel­li­gence squad that he sup­pos­edly led.

The al­leged vic­tims fault Daniel Mor­gan for not vet­ting Levin care­fully enough. Although lit­tle is known about Levin’s pro­fes­sional ca­reer, he fre­quently boasted to col­leagues and stu­dents that he had killed dozens of peo­ple and worked for an un­named coun­tert­er­ror­ism or­ga­ni­za­tion, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­views with former Daniel Mor­gan em­ploy­ees.

Be­fore he helped launch Daniel Mor­gan in 2014, Levin, who served in the Army dur­ing the Viet­nam War, also served as an un­paid ad­viser at an­other na­tional se­cu­rity school in Wash­ing­ton, the In­sti­tute of World Politics. Two of the al­leged vic­tims met Levin at the in­sti­tute in 2012, where they say he be­gan co­erc­ing them into sex­u­ally abu­sive en­coun­ters. They later fol­lowed him to Daniel Mor­gan.

“These plain­tiffs were the only in­di­vid­u­als at [Daniel Mor­gan] with both the knowl­edge and the author­ity to stop Mark Levin’s al­leged be­hav­ior, and their fail­ure to do so rep­re­sents a dere­lic­tion of their du­ties,” the school said in its state­ment to The Wash­ing­ton Post.

In April, D.C. Su­pe­rior Court Judge Zi­nora M. Mitchell-Rankin en­tered a tem­po­rary pro­tec­tive or­der al­low­ing them to pro­ceed with the law­suit anony­mously for 90 days.

But Daniel Mor­gan, which knows the names of the al­leged vic­tims, wants the court to va­cate the or­der and force them to re­file their law­suit “set­ting forth their real names and ad­dresses.” The school wants to “prop­erly de­fend it­self,” it says in court pa­pers.

“[Daniel Mor­gan] must be able to tell their ver­sion of events, which se­verely un­der­mine [the al­leged vic­tims’] claim, with­out the con­straints of the cur­rent pro­tec­tive or­der,” the school wrote in court pa­pers.

Daniel Mor­gan also ar­gues that the al­leged vic­tims’ abuse is not se­vere enough to war­rant anonymity: “Even with cases in­volv­ing graphic sex­ual as­sault, courts have been re­luc­tant to al­low plain­tiffs to pro­ceed anony­mously.”

The al­leged vic­tims con­tend in court pa­pers that out­ing their iden­ti­ties would heighten me­dia at­ten­tion and bring “pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion, so­cial stigma, so­cial iso­la­tion and psy­cho­log­i­cal harm to them.”

But Daniel Mor­gan as­serts that the al­leged vic­tims have al­ready spo­ken to The Post and there­fore “can­not be per­mit­ted to use pub­lic­ity of the case as both a sword and a shield.”

The Post gen­er­ally does not identify al­leged vic­tims of sex­ual abuse.

In their court pa­pers, the al­leged vic­tims ar­gue that Daniel Mor­gan’s at­tempts to un­mask them are “thinly-veiled at­tempts to fur­ther re­tal­i­ate” against them.

They cite an April 12 town hall meet­ing of fac­ulty and stu­dents at Daniel Mor­gan, when Kelly, then the school’s vice pres­i­dent and spe­cial coun­sel, dis­cussed the al­leged vic­tims’ law­suit. Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Kelly told at­ten­dees that the al­leged vic­tims’ names would be re­vealed, and that the stu­dent body and all em­ploy­ees de­served to know their iden­ti­ties be­cause “they are su­ing all of us col­lec­tively.” Kelly re­peat­edly told those gath­ered, ac­cord­ing to the al­leged vic­tims’ court pa­pers, that “lit­i­ga­tion yields con­se­quences.”

In its coun­ter­suit and cross­claim, the school said that it is seek­ing dam­ages based on two of the al­leged vic­tims’ salaries, at­tor­neys’ fees and rep­u­ta­tional harm. Daniel Mor­gan also wants an un­spec­i­fied “con­tri­bu­tion” from Levin in case dam­ages are as­sessed against the school in fa­vor of the al­leged vic­tims.

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