Report: VA Inspector General Quit After Masturbating in Public View

Department of Veterans Affairs

An acting inspector general for the Veterans Affairs Department resigned in 2008 after being seen masturbating in an all-glass conference room visible to people across the street, according to a report Sunday in The Daily Caller.

The Washington, D.C.-based online news outlet said its article about Jon Wooditch is based on a previously undisclosed report by the Inspector General of the Interior Department, which the Caller obtained.

Military.com has requested but not yet received the document from the Interior Department, which took over the case to provide an independent investigation after VA officials concluded the matter involved their boss.

When reached by telephone at his home, Wooditch said the incident never occurred and described the allegation as "absolutely insane." The U.S. Attorney's Office reviewed the accusation and decided it was unfounded, he said.

"They found nothing wrong and they closed the case," he said. "Both the VA and Interior reviewed the matter. The matter was referred to US Attorney's Office for consideration, and they found it unfounded and closed the case and did not pursue it."

He added, "If I had [done it], you can be rest assured that I would have been held accountable for that. I would have been charged with a crime and I would have had to go to court to face it. But all the evidence, all the interviews and the U.S. Attorney's Office concluded that there was nothing to charge me with."

Wooditch also said he decided to retire, not resign.

"I was never asked orally or in writing to resign," he said. "My wife and I had bought a house in Pennsylvania, and we were the process of retiring and then all this kind of nonsense broke loose. I just retired after 32 years of outstanding performance in the federal government. I never resigned."

When asked whether the timing of his departure from government was prompted by the matter, Wooditch said, "It had to do with the fact that ... people were talking about what was going on. It was just too much. You don't put that kind of pressure on the department. So I just retired. I just said I'm gone."

As acting inspector general, Wooditch was tasked with leading the office's effort to investigate cases of waste, fraud and abuse.

In a statement, Catherine Gromek, a spokeswoman for the VA's Office of Inspector General said, "because current OIG leadership only recently became aware of the matter, we cannot comment further on the allegations or the investigation."

She said the allegations and investigation in question "occurred more than [seven] years ago and the individual allegedly involved retired from Federal service more than [seven] years ago."

In 2008, teachers attending a conference at the Renaissance Hotel across the street from Wooditch's office allegedly spotted him in the act, according to the Caller. The teachers said he did it "repeatedly" during the week they were there, the outlet reported.

One of the teachers "said that during the week, he went from rubbing himself over the top of his clothes to disrobing and fondling his penis," according to the Caller.

Hotel security, alerted by a number of the women, called the VA security. A VA Inspector General's Office staff member forwarded the alert up the chain -- to Wooditch himself, the outlet reported. The case was subsequently turned over to Interior Department.

Wooditch left his position after investigators confronted him with evidence that he also masturbated in public view in 2006 in his hometown of LeMoyne, Pennsylvania, according to the Caller.

When asked about this incident, Wooditch said, "Whatever happened in LeMoyne happened in the privacy of my own bedroom ... someone may have been looking in my own window."

--Brendan McGarry contributed to this report.

--Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bryantjordan.

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