This information may come as a surprise to a few of you, but I am not a criminal profiler for the FBI. That being said, when I was 12, I did write a fan letter to Robert Ressler, the inspiration for Netflix’s Mindhunter after reading is 1992 book Whoever Fights Monsters, about his experiences as an FBI criminal profiler. Armed with that knowledge, allow me to offer my profile of James Hendricks, the leader of the FBI field office in Albany, New York who has also been accused of being such prolific sexual harasser that women employees report keeping rulers in their desks to slap his hands away from their breasts.
First of all, I’m going to say our suspect is a white man, approaching late middle age, drawn to positions of authority, particularly law enforcement, not out of any especially keen sense of fairness but because holding such positions will give him unfettered access to victims and the power inherent in these roles. Coupled with the ongoing institutional sexism historically associated with this field, this will allow him to freely humiliate women subordinates, which not only gives the suspect sadistic sexual pleasure but also reinforces his longing to feel superior to all others, but particularly women, at all times and in all areas of his life.
The suspect will be cruel if rejected or confronted, and there is a high probability women will have been fired for failing to make him feel as if his harassment is wanted. He will likely justify his behavior as “just joking around,” while simultaneously possessing no proclivities for making others laugh. His white skin and penis, coupled with middle-class access to higher education, will allow him to advance quickly through the ranks of an organization created by and for people who look exactly like him, and so he is likely to be successful regardless of actual ability or intellect. His victims will likely say that despite the commonplace nature of his assaults, he was never formally reprimanded. If confronted, suspect will likely chalk his crimes up to misunderstanding.
Okay, let’s see how I did!
It appears that 50-year-old James Hendricks “quietly retired” from his post as the special agent in charge of the field office after the Office of Inspector General, an internal policing branch of the Justice Department, found that Hendricks (whose name was redacted from the report but several sources close to the matter have confirmed) had sexually harassed eight women subordinates for years, according to Courthouse News.
Of the 200 agents who reported to him, some “chalked up Hendricks’ alleged behavior to his being a “Southern gentleman” — he served as a police officer in western Kentucky before joining the bureau in 1998,” while others noted that he obviously ogled women’s breast in staff meetings, once “simulated masturbation” after a woman left a room, attempted to play with a woman subordinates hair, and asked the same woman to come to work in shorts. All of this information led the Justice Department to conclude in its report that the case was “one of the FBI’s most egregious known cases of sexual misconduct.”
Another woman claims that Hendricks forced her into a sexual relationship by threatening her career and “that he had been known to be vindictive and ‘push out’ people who crossed him.”
Though Hendricks, who now works as a law enforcement blogger with the full benefits he received upon retiring from the FBI before the results of the investigation were made public, has not commented to reporters on the matter, he is quoted in the report as saying: “It’s an ugly, ugly laundry list of things that were said, and that’s really hurtful to me and it really just disappoints me.”
Well you know what, Jimmy, I’m disappointed too because while my profile was fine, it wasn’t Ressler good. Had I not forgotten to follow up on the idea that Hendricks is just one guy who got called out and actually likely operates within a network of harassment and misogyny, I probably could have predicted that the FBI had this statement in the can and ready to go:
“The FBI said it could not discuss Hendricks’ case but that it ‘maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment and is committed to fostering a safe work environment where all of our employees are valued, protected and respected.’”
See, shit like this is the reason the real mindhunter didn’t respond to the letter I sent him on Lisa Frank stationary thanking him for everything I’d learned from his interview with Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s clear I didn’t learn jack.