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Sexual misconduct allegations cast shadow on nonprofit that works with colleges to help injured veterans

By Jie Jenny Zou, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Jon Monett, a former science official at the CIA who has been compared to the technical genius Q in the James Bond spy movies and who made a cameo in Robert De Niro's 2006 spy film, "The Good Shepherd," found a way to give back to his fellow veterans.

The tech entrepreneur founded Quality of Life Plus, a nonprofit that connects engineering students with injured veterans to build custom-made prosthetics and assistive devices.

Launched in 2009 at Monett's alma mater, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, the flagship program had hit its stride in recent years, expanding to 19 colleges nationwide.

But newly surfaced allegations of sexual misconduct by Monett and concerns of a toxic workplace are now threatening to derail the organization.

Emails reviewed by the Los Angeles Times detail at least two alleged instances of sexual misconduct by Monett, against a former employee in 2017 and an unidentified woman at Cal Poly.

Officials at the nonprofit declined to share the results of an independent investigation into the matter, saying only that "the investigation found sufficient evidence to warrant corrective action, which we have and are taking."


The allegations have triggered several departures from the organization's board and advisory council.

And Cal Poly has quietly severed ties with the nonprofit, putting on hold a slate of projects and rebranding a multimillion-dollar lab that bears the nonprofit's logo and name.

In emails shared with the Times, Monett apologized to an employee in 2017 after she claimed he had forcibly stuck his tongue down her throat. In another, Monett allegedly admitted to a similar incident involving a woman at the university weeks earlier. In both instances, Monett blamed alcohol for his behavior.

Monett declined to comment. The 82-year-old resides in McLean, Virginia, not far from the CIA headquarters where he once worked.


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