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Did IRS Agent Have Prior History Of Misconduct?

Posted: 10:40 PM, Apr 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-29 23:51:17-04

It may not have been his first time!

That's what the victim's attorney says in new court filings about an Internal Revenue Service agent now accused of sexually assaulting a local taxpayer.

Samuel Garza is currently awaiting trial on a 10-count indictment, accused of sexual battery, assault and official misconduct.

But the court filings raise questions about whether the IRS may have ignored some red flags.

"Going by the way that this man did stuff, this man was only getting bolder," the victim in the case, Deana Inman, said in an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

The alleged assault occurred during a compliance check of Inman's Fairview convenience store.

"When somebody tells you they're gonna put you in jail, they're gonna take your business away, I don't know what more he could have done to me," Deana said.

The business owner said Garza had looked her up on Facebook -- and he knew she had a disabled husband and a young daughter.

At some point, inside a private office, she said Garza threatened that she might lose it all.

"We went from [him] showing me how to take checks to now I'm going to jail and they're taking the business. And I'm trying to figure out: who's going to take care of my husband and what's going to happen to my daughter."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "Do you think he was trying to say that he had power over you?"

"Yeah, I think he knew exactly what he was doing."

That's when, she said, Garza made his move -- first choking her, then repeatedly fondling her.

It was an assault that she said lasted for hours, causing her to black out.

Deana's lawyer, Gary Blackburn, has filed suit against Inman in federal court for violating her civil rights.

"He couldn't have accomplished any of the terrible things he's alleged to have done without making use of his badge, so to speak," Blackburn said.

The lawyer said investigators have evidence from a phone call Garza made in jail.

In a federal claim filed with the IRS, Blackburn said that "Mr. Garza's wife asked in a recorded telephone conversation in jail why he was permitted to call on Mrs. Inman without supervision after [what had happened] 'the last time.'"

 

That leads Blackburn to question whether it all could have been prevented.

"If you hire enough people and you give them this sort of power, an abuse of that power will eventually occur," he added. "So there ought to be some system in which that can be anticipated and prevented."

The IRS says federal privacy laws prevent them from commenting on Mr. Garza's employment status.

So if there was a "last time" -- when another woman made similar allegations -- the IRS won't say.

"There's never an excuse for abusing or hurting or sexually assaulting a citizen. Oh, my God, this is outrageous," said U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee.

Cooper has been critical of the IRS' employment practices, which he says reflect the strain of budget cuts and having to enforce a monstrous tax code that no one likes.

One report from a government watchdog, the Inspector General For Tax Administration, found that "in four instances of substantiated sexually related misconduct, employees received suspension of five days or less."

The inspector general found in a second report that "hundreds of former employees who had a wide range of previous performance and conduct issues at the IRS were rehired" by the agency.

"It shows how desperate they are," Cooper said, "when they've had to go back and recruit people who probably shouldn't have been rehired with that sort of terrible track record."

Cooper was recently among 345 members of the House who voted to prohibit the IRS from rehiring any employee who was previously dismissed for misconduct.

As for Deana Inman, she said that "everybody wants to know why I didn't just call the IRS."

To ensure that Garza couldn't deny what happened, Deana told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, she ended up working with Williamson County detectives to set a sting.

That's when the IRS revenue agent was arrested.

"We give them so much power over us because after all they do have the power," she said.

But it's that abuse of power that has left her still feeling so powerless.

"The safety net is gone. They people that were supposed to protect me, they weren't there for me."

In court documents, Garza admits there was sexual contact in this case, although he claims it was consensual.

Despite that admission, Garza's former lawyer said in those same court filings that he has not been fired.

"The IRS has suspended Mr. Garza's job, but is awaiting the outcome of these charges before making a final decision as to whether to not to terminate his employment," Kyle Mothersead wrote back in November.