Sexual misconduct, harassment by city workers outlined in inspector general’s report

One case in the quarterly report involves the city’s scandal-scarred Department of Water Management.

SHARE Sexual misconduct, harassment by city workers outlined in inspector general’s report
Inspector General Joe Ferguson

Inspector General Joe Ferguson

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A motor truck driver who exposed himself and masturbated inside a Department of Water Management truck in broad daylight while parked in a residential neighborhood.

A Chicago Fire Department lieutenant who repeatedly sexually harassed a restaurant employee while on duty in uniform and a battalion chief who tried to cover it up.

An animal care inspector who sent unprovoked communications to a co-worker’s spouse alleging the co-worker was having an affair on the job.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s latest quarterly report includes allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment, including one involving the city’s scandal-scarred Department of Water Management.

“A Department of Water Management truck driver, while on duty, exposed themselves and masturbated inside a DWM truck. The motor truck driver performed these acts in the daytime while parked in residential neighborhood,” Ferguson wrote.

“The motor truck driver’s public indecency was observable to nearby members of the public, as indicated by a video an individual recorded, which showed the MTD masturbating.”

During an interview, the accused driver repeatedly lied to investigators by falsely claiming that he had “spilled a drink on themselves” and, later, that he was “urinating into a bottle,” according to the inspector general’s report.

The driver has been fired but is appealing the discharge.

In 2017, a shake up triggered by racist, sexist and homophobic emails swept out then-Water Management Commissioner Barrett Murphy and top deputies William Bresnahan and Paul Hansen, brother of former Ald. Bernard Hansen (44th).

A Chicago Fire Department lieutenant has been discharged after being accused of sexually harassing a restaurant employee for months “numerous times a week” while on duty and in uniform.

“While at the restaurant, the lieutenant singled out the employee and made unwanted and inappropriate comments, saying the victim was pretty, calling the victim ‘baby’ and ‘sweetie’, stating, ‘I’m gonna marry you someday,’ and, ‘Are you gonna make my food with love?’” Ferguson wrote.

“The unwanted attention caused the employee to move to the kitchen area whenever the lieutenant entered the restaurant. The sexual harassment culminated one afternoon when the lieutenant approached the restaurant employee and kissed them on the cheek without consent or invitation.”

The lieutenant was accused of lying to investigators. Ferguson further accused the lieutenant’s supervisor, a battalion chief, of conducting an “unsanctioned investigation” into the alleged misconduct “despite the close personal relationship between them.”

The battalion chief was further accused of threatening co-workers by saying, “No one better talk to the media about this or I’ll kick their teeth in.”

The lieutenant was fired but is appealing the discharge. The battalion chief received a written reprimand and anti-sexual harassment training.

The city employee accused of directing an associate to mail an anonymous letter to a co-worker’s spouse alleging an on-the-job affair worked as an inspector for the Commission on Animal Care and Control.

“In addition, the Animal Care investigator was involved in sending an anonymous email alleging the affair, alongside a LinkedIn request associated with an escort service to the spouse’s work email address,” the report states.

“By engaging in threatening conduct and going to great lengths to conceal their involvement in such conduct, [the inspector] demonstrated that they were unfit to continue their employment.”

Ferguson recommended that the inspector be fired, but the accused employee resigned before being terminated.

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