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Fort Carson hospital chief accused of misconduct

Feb. 3, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Newly released Army documents accuse Col. John McGrath, former commander of Fort Carson's hospital, of making inappropriate comments to his subordinates.
Newly released Army documents accuse Col. John McGrath, former commander of Fort Carson's hospital, of making inappropriate comments to his subordinates. ()
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FORT CARSON, COLO. — Newly released Army documents accuse a former commander of Fort Carson’s hospital of making inappropriate comments to his subordinates that some of them said made them cringe.

Col. John McGrath was suspended in August after the investigation began. The investigation concluded in October that McGrath should not be reinstated as commander because investigators said his continual barrage of inappropriate comments and sexual innuendos degraded the command climate and morale.

Upon meeting an attractive nurse, McGrath allegedly said, “I see how you got your rank.”

During another encounter with a female employee, investigators said he asked where her husband was.

“He’s deployed,” she said, according to the report. “So does that mean you’re out partying?” McGrath reportedly asked.

Interviews with 46 members of hospital staff and their spouses generally showed a man who made brusque or sarcastic remarks that many interviewees said may have been attempts at humor, but instead insulted or intimidated subordinates.

A 400-page investigation of McGrath obtained by The Colorado Springs Gazette indicates there were no apparent overt accusations of sexual misconduct or illegal reprisal against subordinates by the commander of Evans Army Hospital. Names of subordinates were redacted in the report.

An Evans Army Hospital spokesman said McGrath no longer works at Evans and is instead “serving in an administrative position with another organization on Fort Carson.” The spokesman did not elaborate.

McGrath, a doctor with 29 years in the Army, took command of the hospital in January 2012. In a written response to the investigation, he either denied or said he could not remember making the inappropriate actions. Base officials did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Monday.

Investigators said McGrath’s lack of tact caused frustration at the hospital. Many described it as a hostile workplace. They said McGrath was overly focused on regulations and cost-cutting. At one point, McGrath refused to show up to a cake-cutting ceremony, saying in an email, “Not sure how staff gathering around cake accomplishes anything.”

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