A west suburban judge has been removed from the bench after a state commission ruled he lied to detectives about accidentally firing a gun in his Wheaton apartment, and that he retaliated against two female employees who had accused him of sexual harassment.
DuPage County Judge Patrick J. O’Shea was acquitted last year of a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge stemming from the alleged accidental shooting, but the Illinois Courts Commission said Friday that O’Shea’s “multiple instances of misconduct” were enough to pull him from office.
“The respondent [O’Shea] was totally unapologetic with respect to that misconduct, lied under oath, and abused his position of power,” the commission said in its ruling.
Neither O’Shea nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
After his administrative assistant filed a sexual harassment report against him in 2016, O’Shea complained to her boss about the woman’s “gang-related” tattoos and threatened to have her locked up, according to the complaint filed against O’Shea last year by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board. The board investigates complaints against Illinois judges and presents cases to the commission, which doles out punishment.
The next year, O’Shea filed a “formal complaint” against a deputy clerk who’d also alleged he sexually harassed her by making suggestive comments about her outfit. The commission agreed with the inquiry board complaint that it was O’Shea’s attempt at retaliation.
“With respect to the the allegations of sexual harassment, the respondent indicated that he would change his behavior in the future. However, this was not because he was remorseful for his conduct, rather it was because he believed his comments and actions were misconstrued,” the commission said.
O’Shea was hit with the reckless conduct charge in September 2017 when a bullet from his revolver was fired through a wall in his Wheaton apartment and into his neighbor’s unit. He allegedly told a series of lies about what really happened — including saying the hole had been made by a screwdriver and, at one point, blaming his son for accidentally firing the gun, the commission found. O’Shea later admitted to detectives he fired the gun, the commission said.
At the time of his acquittal, a Kane County judge called O’Shea’s actions negligent but said it didn’t rise to the level of criminal recklessness because no one was home in the neighboring apartment, the Daily Herald reported then. The case was later expunged from O’Shea’s record.
“While the firing of the bullet through his bedroom wall was extrajudicial in nature, the respondent’s response to the incident was unacceptable for an officer of the court,” the commission said. “The respondent’s misconduct reflects poorly upon the integrity of and respect for the judiciary.”
O’Shea was stripped of judicial duties following his October 2017 arrest but returned to work on a limited basis in March 2018 following his acquittal.
Despite the allegations against him, O’Shea successfully retained his position as judge in last November’s general election, garnering nearly 70% of the vote in DuPage County, election records show.