Security Clearance Denials for Sexual Misconduct

If you’re like most applicants, gaining security clearance is critical for your job. Perhaps you need security clearance to get that promotion you’ve been waiting for, or the next level in pay. While security clearance helps you, and opens up more job possibilities, it also makes you more valuable to your employer.

Once you have security clearance, you’ve proven to the U.S. government that you are capable of safeguarding classified information that’s important to national security. When you’re approved for security clearance, you’ve demonstrated to investigators that you are loyal to the United States, that you are reliable, and have a good moral character.

But what if something comes up in your background check? What if the investigators find out that you’ve been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault (rape), possession of child pornography, statutory rape, indecent exposure, or another sex offense? What if you were falsely accused, but you still have the stigma of the charge on your record?

Can a Sex Offense Lead to a Denial?

There are numerous reasons why someone might be denied security clearance – criminal behavior, mental illness, bankruptcy, alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, allegiance to a foreign country, and... sexual misconduct.

Sexual behavior is covered under Guideline D of the Adjudicative Process. While any sex offense involving a child will raise giant red flags to investigators, other sexual behaviors may be concerning, such as a pattern of high-risk sexual behavior, sex addiction, continuous visits with prostitutes, lifetime sex offender registration, and sexual behavior in public that shows the applicant is lacking in judgement and discretion.

Sexual Behavior: Mitigating Factors

While the government does not condone sexual misconduct, in some cases there are mitigating factors. For example, the applicant’s former spouse made the allegations in a divorce and nothing ever came of it, or the allegations were false, or the alleged victim did consent and there was no conviction.

Or, perhaps it was a consensual relationship with a minor, but the age difference was very small, or the incident was explainable and it happened a long time ago and the applicant did not repeat the behavior – these could all be mitigating factors.

Related: Security Clearance: Will Investigators Ask Around About Me?

Are you concerned that your career will be at stake because of something on your record that has to do with sexual behavior? If so, contact our security clearance attorneys at once for the skilled legal counsel you need and deserve.