Chicago taxpayers will shell out $415,000 to compensate an inebriated woman who accused two police officers of sexually assaulting her, only to have them plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez initially claimed that the 22-year-old victim was so intoxicated that she was “unable to give knowing consent” to the sex she had with Chicago Police Officers Juan Vasquez and Paul Clavijo.
The victim had a blood-alcohol level of .38 — nearly five times the legal limit for driving a car in Illinois — during the alleged March 30, 2011, assault.
“They victimized these women,”Alvarez said at the time.They not only violated, but they essentially destroyed their oath of office.”
Three years later, the state’s attorney’s office quietly agreed to a deal that allowed Clavijo and Vasquez to plead guilty to felony official misconduct. No sexual misconduct was alleged.
Both officers avoided prison time and were sentenced to two years probation. They resigned after their felony convictions disqualified them from working as police officers.
At the time, a spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office called the plea deal “the best possible outcome” in the case “based on the circumstances.”
Attorney Jed Stone refused to comment because he is no longer representing Clavijo. Dan Herbert, an attorney representing Vasquez, could not be reached for comment on the settlement, expected to be approved by the City Council’s Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Herbert has long maintained that the sex was consensual and, therefore “not a criminal incident” even though “some bad decisions” were made.
The officers were on duty and in uniform when they offered the victim a ride home to Rogers Park from Wrigleyville near Sheffield and Addison at 2 a.m. on March 30, 2011.
The woman, who had been drinking at a friend’s home, attempted to enter the back seat of the marked squad car, but Clavijo ushered her onto his lap in the front seat, where he sexually assaulted her while Vasquez went into a liquor store, prosecutors said after the incident.
At the victim’s home in the 1300 block of West Greenleaf, she drank and played strip poker with them, prosecutors said. The officers then sexually assaulted her, leading her to pound on the walls and scream, prosecutors alleged. Police found the victim in a “hysterical” state and recovered part of Vasquez’s uniform and cellphone from the room, prosecutors said.
Clavijo was also accused of a March 10, 2011, crime in which he and Vasquez allegedly picked up a 26-year-old woman at a bus stop near Clark and Sheffield.
They drove her home and asked to use her restroom, prosecutors said. Inside, when Vasquez went to the bathroom, Clavijo allegedly followed the woman into her bedroom and “pushed her onto the bed, pulled down her pants and performed a sex act on her,” prosecutors said.
The woman objected, and the officers left, but the woman did not immediately report the crime because she was intimidated, prosecutors said. Vasquez does not face charges in the incident.
The $415,000 settlement is the latest in a series of hefty payouts stemming from alleged police abuse.
Jon Loevy, an attorney representing the woman in the March 30 incident, said a $415,000 settlement is justified even though the criminal case fell apart.“We were prepared to prove our case that what our client said happened is exactly what happened,” Loevy saidFriday.“This was a sexual assault. It was not consensual. The fact that she was intoxicated does not excuse a sexual assault.”