A Chicago Police officer claims he was defamed and his right to privacy was violated after a therapist’s detailed advertisement described a shooting incident involving the officer — something he was seeking counseling for.
The plaintiff, who was not identified in the suit, claims Tennessee-based American Addiction Centers, Inc. and Krurapp Communications were responsible for publishing the advertisement in the April 2014 issue of Illinois Cops, according to the suit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court. He also names Robert Morrison, a former counselor with the Chicago Police Department’s Employee Assistance Program who later began working with AAC.
In 2005 the officer approached the EAP, which refers officers seeking counseling services to private professionals, the suit said. He was referred to a clinical therapist and continued seeing him through 2010.
Robert Morrison, a counselor with EAP, talked with the officer about some of his issues and had access to confidential information kept by the other counselor. The suit claims Morrison assured the officer that his records would not be disclosed to anyone.
Morrison was then hired as a counselor by AAC in June 2013, the suit said.
In April 2014, an AAC advertisement promoting Morrison and his work with law enforcement appeared in Illinois Cops magazine, which had three stories of previous clients’ struggles. One of the stories discussed in detail how the police officer, identified with a pseudonym, got drunk for a recent St. Patrick’s Day parade with a childhood friend, then left his gun on a table. The ad then says the friend picked the gun up and accidentally shot himself, leaving him in a “vegetative state.”
The advertisement also details the officer’s arrest the day of the shooting, his alleged alcohol abuse issues and the burden he feels from his “latent feelings of homosexuality.”
The officer claims the advertisement was so detailed, it was obvious who the story was about. He claims the “highly specific” facts were known by his family, friends and members of the police department.
Morrison apologized and said that the ad “shouldn’t have been published” when the officer called him in May 2014, the suit said.
None of the defendants could be reached for comment Thursday evening.
The eight-count defamation suit charges the defendants with violating the Illinois Mental Act and the Illinois Right of Publicity Act, among other claims. It is seeking more than $400,000 in damages.