Judge faces hearing over alleged sexual harassment, lies in gun case
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After his administrative assistant filed a sexual harassment report against him in 2016, DuPage County Court Judge Patrick J. O’Shea complained to her boss about the assistant’s “gang-related” tattoos and threatened to have her locked up, according to a complaint filed Thursday by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board.
The complaint comes just months after a Kane County judge acquitted O’Shea of reckless conduct for accidentally firing a bullet through a wall in his Wheaton apartment and into his neighbor’s unit. No one was injured in the Sept. 15, 2017 incident.
Now, O’Shea faces a hearing before a panel of judges, lawyers and ordinary citizens who, potentially, have the power to remove him from the bench.
The complaint alleges O’Shea lied to police investigating the accidental discharge of the gun and, later, during testimony before the inquiry board.
The complaint also accuses O’Shea of trying to retaliate against two female court employees who, on separate occasions, filed sexual harassment claims against him — in 2016 and the following year.
The complaint alleges O’Shea’s actions “brought the judicial office into disrepute.”
In 2016, O’Shea made comments to his female assistant — as well as to the assistant and to another male judge together — that made both the woman and the other judge “uncomfortable,” the complaint states. An Administrative Office of Illinois Courts investigation later “substantiated” the allegations against O’Shea, the complaint states.
In response, O’Shea at one point spoke to the assistant’s supervisor, saying he didn’t like her tattoos, considered her “nasty and loud” and even threatened to take her into custody, the complaint states.
In late 2017, O’Shea filed a “formal complaint” against a deputy clerk who’d also alleged he sexually harassed her. According to the inquiry board complaint, it was O’Shea’s attempt at retaliation.
About the same time, O’Shea was charged with reckless conduct for accidentally firing a bullet from a Smith & Wesson revolver. The bullet broke a mirror on O’Shea’s wall, went through his wall and into another apartment, according to the inquiry board complaint. O’Shea then told a series of lies about what had 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 complaint states.
No one was home in the adjoining apartment at the time, but when the renters returned, they retrieved the bullet and called police.
In March, Kane County Judge Keith Johnson ruled O’Shea’s actions were negligent, but didn’t rise to the higher level of recklessness because no one was home in the other apartment when the shot was fired, the Daily Herald reported at the time.
O’Shea was stripped of judicial duties following his October 2017 arrest but returned to work on a limited basis following his acquittal in March.
“Judge O’Shea was previously assigned to administrative duties on March 26, 2018 and his access to court facilities was limited to entry through a court security check-point,” 18th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Daniel Guerin said in a statement on Thursday. “Both his assignment to administrative duties and restricted access to court facilities remain in place until further order of the Court.”
O’Shea successfully filed to have the shooting case expunged from his record, according to his former defense attorney. He is still on the ballot in the Nov. 6 election to retain his position.
Kevin M. Fee, an attorney representing the inquiry board, declined to comment Thursday about the case against O’Shea, other than to say, “The allegations speak for themselves.”
O’Shea could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
A public hearing date has not yet been set in the case.
Contributing: Mitchell Armentrout