Last month, a graduate school for aspiring spies and diplomats was sued by three former and current employees, who alleged that an ex-senior adviser coerced them into sexually abusive encounters.
This past week, the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security fought back, countersuing two of the alleged victims and filing a cross-claim against the former administrator, 72-year-old Mark W. Levin.
In documents filed in D.C. Superior Court, Daniel Morgan argues that the alleged victims — two of whom held high-ranking positions at the school — violated their obligations to their employer and committed fraud by not reporting their alleged abuse by Levin much earlier.
The school in Northwest Washington contends that the alleged victims actually collaborated with Levin, Daniel Morgan’s former senior adviser to the president, who represented himself as a spy, but may not have been. Daniel Morgan argues that the alleged victims defrauded the school, keeping their abuse secret to preserve their well-paid jobs.
“[They] not only concealed their relationship with Levin in an effort to secure and protect their positions, but assisted Levin in hiring other men with whom Levin was engaged in relationships, and concealing those relationships,” Daniel Morgan argued in court papers. “Levin and [the alleged victims] permitted a culture to develop wherein it purportedly became a ‘rite of passage’ for young male [Daniel Morgan] employees to enter into a relationship with Levin.”
In their lawsuit against Daniel Morgan, the three men in their early 20s who work or used to work at the school are seeking $150 million. Their complaint also named three other defendants: Levin, who was suspended and then fired; Alan B. Kelly, Daniel Morgan’s recently named acting president; and Abby S. Moffat, the chairwoman of Daniel Morgan’s board of trustees and the chief executive of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which gives the school about $7 million annually.
Tamara Miller, a former Justice Department deputy chief who represents the alleged victims, declined to comment.
Levin did not return messages seeking comment.
Moffat and Kelly declined an interview request.
In a statement to The Washington Post, the school said the young men “ have been able to drag the names of Alan Kelly, Abby Moffat, and the Daniel Morgan Graduate School itself through the mud on the basis of allegations alone, without having to provide any evidence or finding by a judge, jury, or other trier of fact,” the school said. “Mark Levin’s alleged conduct was inexcusable, and for those plaintiffs to aid and abet this behavior while publicly playing the role of victim is shameful.”
The alleged victims, two of whom live in Northern Virginia, claim in their lawsuit that Levin manipulated them into sexually explicit medical exams at his apartment building in Arlington County. Levin convinced them, the lawsuit argues, that the naked physicals were required to maintain their Daniel Morgan jobs and their candidacy for a clandestine intelligence squad that he supposedly led.
The alleged victims fault Daniel Morgan for not vetting Levin carefully enough. Although little is known about Levin’s professional career, he frequently boasted to colleagues and students that he had killed dozens of people and worked for an unnamed counterterrorism organization, according to interviews with former Daniel Morgan employees.
Before he helped launch Daniel Morgan in 2014, Levin, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, also served as an unpaid adviser at another national security school in Washington, the Institute of World Politics. Two of the alleged victims met Levin at the institute in 2012, where they say he began coercing them into sexually abusive encounters. They later followed him to Daniel Morgan.
“These plaintiffs were the only individuals at [Daniel Morgan] with both the knowledge and the authority to stop Mark Levin’s alleged behavior, and their failure to do so represents a dereliction of their duties,” the school said in its statement to The Washington Post.
In April, D.C. Superior Court Judge Zinora M. Mitchell-Rankin entered a temporary protective order allowing them to proceed with the lawsuit anonymously for 90 days.
But Daniel Morgan, which knows the names of the alleged victims, wants the court to vacate the order and force them to refile their lawsuit “setting forth their real names and addresses.” The school wants to “properly defend itself,” it says in court papers.
“[Daniel Morgan] must be able to tell their version of events, which severely undermine [the alleged victims’] claim, without the constraints of the current protective order,” the school wrote in court papers.
Daniel Morgan also argues that the alleged victims’ abuse is not severe enough to warrant anonymity: “Even with cases involving graphic sexual assault, courts have been reluctant to allow plaintiffs to proceed anonymously.”
The alleged victims contend in court papers that outing their identities would heighten media attention and bring “public humiliation, social stigma, social isolation and psychological harm to them.”
But Daniel Morgan asserts that the alleged victims have already spoken to The Post and therefore “cannot be permitted to use publicity of the case as both a sword and a shield.”
The Post generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.
In their court papers, the alleged victims argue that Daniel Morgan’s attempts to unmask them are “thinly-veiled attempts to further retaliate” against them.
They cite an April 12 town hall meeting of faculty and students at Daniel Morgan, when Kelly, then the school’s vice president and special counsel, discussed the alleged victims’ lawsuit. According to court documents, Kelly told attendees that the alleged victims’ names would be revealed, and that the student body and all employees deserved to know their identities because “they are suing all of us collectively.” Kelly repeatedly told those gathered, according to the alleged victims’ court papers, that “litigation yields consequences.”
In its countersuit and cross-claim, the school said that it is seeking damages based on two of the alleged victims’ salaries, attorneys’ fees and reputational harm. Daniel Morgan also wants an unspecified “contribution” from Levin in case damages are assessed against the school in favor of the alleged victims.