Alabama state trooper charged with child rape concealed a shady FBI background.
An Alabama state trooper arrested last week on charges of raping an 11-year-old girl was fired from the FBI after a series of sexual assault complaints, but was retained by the state agency with the apparent assistance of a forged FBI letter clearing his record.
According to an Associated Press investigation, Christopher Bauer was suspended without pay and had his security clearance revoked in the FBI's New Orleans office in late 2018 — effectively shot — amid claims that included a coworker alleging he assaulted her at knifepoint.
However, Alabama officials either ignored or were ignorant of this history. According to the Associated Press, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the state police, conducted a "full and detailed" investigation into Bauer's history when he applied to be a trooper in 2019 and discovered "no negative remarks from former employers."
Bauer claimed on his application that he remained employed by the FBI and had never been fired or compelled to resign as a result of disciplinary action. And the state's law enforcement credentialing commission provided AP with a copy of a letter — purportedly from FBI headquarters — confirming Bauer's decade of "creditable service" and declaring him "worthy for rehire."
“The letter is illegitimate,” the FBI told the Associated Press on Wednesday. Officials with the Bureau declined to say who they think fabricated the document.
Bauer, 41, was arrested in Montgomery last week on charges of sodomy and sexual assault of a child under the age of 12. The Associated Press is suppressing some information about the charges in order to protect the girl's privacy.
Bauer remained jailed Wednesday on $105,000 bail, and court records indicate that he does not have an attorney available to comment on his behalf. Bauer's counsel did not respond to requests for comment.
The FBI refused to comment about whether it was questioned about Bauer's suitability for employment by the state police.
The office of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey referred concerns about the matter to the state police, which did not respond to repeated requests for information about Bauer's hiring.
“You have to ask yourself why an FBI agent would want to quit after ten years,” Lou Reiter, a policing consultant and former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief, said. “They clearly did not conduct a thorough background check.”
“There must be phone calls,” said Michael Avery, an authority on police brutality and a former professor at Suffolk University's Law School.
Following his conviction, Bauer resigned from the state police, citing "personal reasons."
Bauer is the most recent — and perhaps most extreme — instance of an FBI agent suspected of sexual assault resigning. Last year, an AP investigation discovered a trend of FBI managers evading punishment — and retiring with full compensation — despite allegations of sexual assault against them.
“Nobody wants to take responsibility,” the former coworker who accused Bauer of rape told the AP, which usually does not name those who claim to be sexual assault victims. “I was determined that this would not happen to anybody else.”
Bauer served as a police officer in Montgomery before joining the FBI in 2009, where he worked on a variety of high-profile investigations in the New Orleans field office. He has denied his FBI coworker's sexual assault allegations, telling colleagues the actions were consensual.
According to a former senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the matter, FBI brass deemed the misconduct case "egregious." Internal FBI investigators questioned several female FBI employees about their interactions with Bauer and concluded that the truth was "somewhere in the middle" of what Bauer and the coworker said, the former official said. Bauer breached FBI policy, including by having sex in an FBI car, according to the internal investigation.
“He absolutely deserved to lose his employment, and he really should have been prosecuted criminally,” said the former official, who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss personnel matters.
Bauer's coworker told the Associated Press that Louisiana police were investigating criminal charges in St. Tammany Parish, north of New Orleans, but she believed she lacked sufficient evidence to proceed.
The claims were also reflected in a restraining order received by the coworker, which named Bauer and had been on file in Louisiana for a year prior to Alabama hiring him as a trooper. The woman accuses the officer of choking her, adding that she was "frightened for my life."
Bauer was ordered in the case to surrender his "firearms, guns, swords, and knives."
“I lost vision and felt my legs give way,” the woman wrote in her application for the warrant. “He repeatedly told me that if I fought him, I would lose. He repeatedly threatened to kill me.”
According to the woman, Bauer sexually harassed her often enough that her hair started to fall out.
“It was a year of agony,” she said. “He can literally keep me up for days on end. I was unable to feed. I couldn't sleep, and in six months, I lost 92 pounds. I was dying mentally as a result of what he was doing to me.”