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U.S. Forest Service chief steps down amid sexual misconduct allegations

The head of the U.S. Forest Service, Tony Tooke, announced his resignation on Wednesday, effective immediately, amid an internal investigation into sexual misconduct claims, PBS NewsHour reports. The allegations against Tooke include that he had relationships with subordinates before he was elevated to chief last September, but a NewsHour investigation also uncovered a wider culture of sexual harassment and assault at the Forest Service, and retaliation against those employees who reported their harassment.

"I have decided that what is needed right now is for me to step down as Forest Service Chief and make way for a new leader that can ensure future success for all employees and the agency," Tooke said in an email to employees. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he had accepted Tooke's resignation, thanking Tooke for his four decades of service at the agency but saying in his experience, "in order to effectively lead any organization, you must have the moral authority to inspire its members to work toward the goal of continuous improvement."