U.S. Diplomat’s Husband Sexually Abused Staff, Until an Anonymous Tip Stopped Him
It took an anonymous letter to stop him.
Labib Chammas is the husband of Judith Chammas, who served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Rabat, Morocco. Labib ran the State Department-owned residence where he oversaw three staffers in the home, including the 53-year-old woman whom he forced to “massage” his genitals, among other acts.
Chammas, 65, was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 months in prison after he plead guilty in October 2016 to one count of abusive sexual conduct, the Department of Justice announced.
The 53-year-old victim of Chammas, a female cook with a “third grade education,” told American officials that he had threatened to fire her or “call the police on her” if she told anyone about his advances or refused him.
The cook had worked in the U.S. government-owned home, called “Villa Monterey,” for 16 years, serving throughout the tenure of at least five prior deputy chief of mission administrations before Chammas and his wife moved in.
She was an unmarried Muslim woman and the sole source of income for her whole family, “including her elderly parents and several of her siblings and their children, who all lived together in a single residence in Rabat,” according to legal documents filed in the case.
Those documents said that between August 2010 and February 2013, he was an “abusive head-of-household, frequently yelling at the employees, demeaning them, and telling them that they would be ﬁred for failing to live up to his expectations.
“The employees lived in constant fear that they would lose their jobs.”
Until one day, when someone wrote a letter that found its way to a pile of surveys in the U.S. Embassy in Rabat.
According to an affidavit, a representative of the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General found the missive in February 2012 during a routine inspection of the embassy, in an envelope labeled “OIG eyes only.”
The typed note alleged that Chammas was sexually assaulting one of his employees in the government-provided residence. Since all of the crimes occurred on U.S. government property, they were within the jurisdiction of the State Department Diplomatic Secret Service.
Agents began conducting voluntary interviews with members of Chammas’s household staff, and eventually the victim came forward, with the help of a translator.
She told officials that soon after he moved into in the home, Chammas forced her to massage him on his hips, then legs, and then eventually to “masturbate his penis until ejaculation on an average of one to three times per week.”
The victim told federal enforcement officials that Chammas often ejaculated into a towel or on the floor in the TV room of the house, in the garden, and on the grounds surrounding the house. Several other incidents occurred in the home’s kitchen and bathrooms, according to the case documents.
Afterward, he often made her clean the area where he ejaculated.
She said that Chammas frequently grabbed her roughly by the wrists or the back of the head and pushed her face down, trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.
According to the affidavit, “On each occasion, Victim 1 would resist by closing her mouth tightly and turning her head.” In at least one instance, he “tried to force his penis into her mouth” and “jabbed at her face with his penis.”
In December 2012, she was at home recovering from surgery after she’d had a tumor removed, when he summoned her to the residence and forced himself on her.
During the course of the investigation, authorities found evidence of semen belonging to Chammas in at least one of the locations described by the victim: on the couch of the TV room in the house. Chammas was arrested in May 2016.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper on Wednesday mandated that Chammas serve an additional five years of supervised release, pay a fine of $15,000, and register as a sex offender for 15 years.