Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Masturbating Cook County Jail inmates could cost taxpayers $2 million-plus in legal fees

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

by Rachel Hinton

Masturbating Cook County Jail inmates could cost taxpayers $2 million-plus in legal fees

It’s been dubbed an “extreme brand of workplace sexual harassment” by one state senator who sought increased penalties for the lewd behavior.

By Rachel Hinton
 
Sun-Times Media

Legal fees for cases relating to masturbating detainees at Cook County Jail could reach more than $2 million.

The Cook County Board’s Finance Committee on Wednesday will consider the latest $486,216.39 in fees and expenses for five cases brought by public defenders, sheriff’s officers and other female county employees exposed to the harassment. That comes on top of nearly $1.7 million the Board has already paid out.

It’s been dubbed an “extreme brand of workplace sexual harassment” by one state senator who sought increased penalties for the lewd behavior. The women subjected to it have written letters to county officials and filed lawsuits.

The problem got so bad a federal judge in 2017 ordered all Cook County jail detainees with a history of indecent exposure, masturbation or sexual misconduct to remain handcuffed “at all times” during courthouse visits.

That year, half a dozen employees of the Cook County Public Defender’s office filed a sexual harassment suit, saying the problem dated back to 2015. In the suit, they described frequent encounters with detainees who would masturbate, sexually harass or expose themselves to lawyers during meetings.

In addition, dozens of female sheriff’s officers filed suit against Sheriff Tom Dart in 2017 and last year, alleging that he hadn’t done enough to protect them from near daily encounters with detainees who would sexually harass and assault them.

The fees coming before the committee on Wednesday relate to five of the cases, brought by public defenders, jail guards, a court interpreter and a nurse.

Commissioner Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park, said the situation was sad for the victims and taxpayers.

“We shouldn’t have a situation where men or women are exposing themselves to public defenders, but on the financial end it’s crazy, too, because someone failed to create an environment that was favorable to detainees,” said Silvestri, a member of the Finance Committee.

A spokeswoman with the county’s State’s Attorney’s Office was not able to comment since the matter relates to pending litigation.

Cara Smith, Dart’s chief of policy, said the payment is for attorneys fees, and the cases have not been settled.

“We continue to vigorously defend against the allegations,” Smith said in a statement. “The payments are for attorneys fees. We have not seen the fee petitions and the State’s Attorney’s Office has approved the payments without our involvement. Also, the hourly rate is set by the State’s Attorney’s Office.”

The full County Board is scheduled to vote on the fees on Thursday.



Recent Headlines

‘Do you know who I am?’ Investigators say Cook County commissioner pressed cops to scrap ally’s $250 parking ticket
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

IG: Cook County needs revamp on sexual harassment outside of work following allegations against Preckwinkle ex-chief of staff
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP