Park District hires former prosecutor to complete lifeguard misconduct probe

Park District hires former prosecutor to complete lifeguard misconduct probe

A 7 days right after the Park District inspector normal resigned, officials declared a former federal prosecutor takeover of a probe of allegations of sexual harassment among lifeguards at city swimming pools and beaches.

Valarie Hays, a husband or wife at regulation firm Arnold Porter, will guide the sexual harassment investigation, Park Board President Avis LaVelle announced in a assertion Wednesday. Inspector Normal Elaine Very little resigned last week, and Deputy Inspector Basic Nathan Kipp, 1 of two IG staffers who experienced been doing the job on the lifeguard inquiry, was suspended and then fired following heading public with his considerations that high-rating Park District staff ended up trying to “whitewash” the investigation of the sexual harassment complaint and an alleged coverup.

“We are dedicated to a extensive investigation of what has been performed and to keep accountable these responsible for wrongdoing,” Lavelle claimed in a statement. “However, we also see this as an possibility to make adjustments for the greater. Our target is to protect our park staff and patrons and heighten overall awareness of acceptable place of work conduct even in configurations in which playfulness is a main element of what we do just about every day.”

LaVelle also announced the choosing of lawyer Alison Perona, who from 2012 to 2015 served as the Park District’s to start with inspector general, to yet again provide as IG on an interim basis whilst the district lookups for a permanent replacement for Minimal.

Hays was a federal prosecutor in Chicago and now is a associate at Arnold Porter, wherever she prospects the law firm’s white collar legal protection and corporate investigations follow. Cook County State’s Legal professional Kim Foxx also is investigating the allegations.

An IG report launched by Tiny detailed sexual misconduct and an alleged sexual assault by 3 former Park District lifeguards. That investigation was introduced just after Supt. Mike Kelly went to the IG’s business with a criticism that had been forwarded to him by Lightfoot’s office environment. Kelly had gained a comparable complaint six weeks previously, in February 2020, and assigned two deputies to look into rather than likely to the IG with the allegations, as Park District policy dictated.

The 11-page e mail Kelly had acquired in depth a booze-loaded “rookie initiation” for lifeguards at Oak Street Beach in the summer of 2019, and a extensive-working sample of lewd feedback and sexual harassment amongst lifeguards. The subsequent IG’s report incorporated incidents involving six feminine lifeguards, such as an attempted rape, dating again as far as 2016.

The report bundled misconduct together with lifeguards drinking on responsibility, and a seasonal lifeguard that allegedly groped his woman colleagues at pools in Portage Park and Jefferson Park in a pair of incidents two decades aside. Yet another male lifeguard allegedly attempted to rape a female colleague in his motor vehicle right after offering her a experience household from function. The similar male lifeguard was allegedly visibly intoxicated whilst on duty throughout the 2018 Chicago Air & H2o present.

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