Berwyn detective accuses deputy police chief of sexual harassment
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
A Berwyn detective says she was repeatedly sexually harassed by the suburban police department’s deputy chief, including being threatened with rape and ordered to break the law, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
Det. Carmelita Terry said Deputy Chief Joseph Drury repeatedly sexually harassed her at work between 2014 and 2015, according to the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Terry says Drury also asked her to break federal law while he was her supervisor in what she calls “an effort to set her up for reprimand or termination in retaliation for rejecting his sexual advances,” according to the suit.
She alleges that Drury would repeatedly comment on her appearance and make offensive remarks about her, including that he wanted to get her into bed, saying he could please her sexually.
An investigation was conducted after Terry told supervisors she was being harassed, city administrator Brian Pabst said in an emailed statement.
Then-Police Chief Jim Ritz ordered Drury not to have further contact with Terry and the city ultimately decided the allegations were unfounded, Pabst said.
“The City is committed to providing its employees with a harassment free workplace,” Pabst said in the statement.
The city did not respond to requests for an interview Friday. Terry also declined to be interviewed.
The alleged harassment occurred at least several times per month, which “distressed, offended and embarrassed” Terry, the lawsuit said.
On Sept. 23, 2015, Drury called Terry into his office and told her “I am going to rape you” and “I can show you a good time,” according to the suit.
During the encounter, he allegedly asked Terry about her boyfriend, told her about his own sex life and made “lewd gestures towards his genitals.”
Drury also asked Terry to give him a ride somewhere that afternoon. She told him she had to be somewhere after work and left his office, causing him him to yell “I’m not done with you yet, don’t leave,” she said.
The next day, Terry asked her unit commander not to assign her to drive Drury anywhere, and the unit commander agreed, according to the suit.
On another occasion, Drury came into the office where Terry was working and ordered another detective to leave the room, the suit says. When the other detective left and they were alone, Drury leaned close to Terry and whispered “I’m going to give you six orgasms,” Terry said.
Terry also claims that on Oct. 8, 2015, Drury ordered her to run a report on an alleged victim so he could give the victim’s information to that person’s alleged perpetrator.
Terry thought the request was unlawful and refused, sending Drury into an abusive, screaming tirade, the suit says. The detective reported the incident to her supervisor, but began to fear she would be demoted or fired in retaliation for rejecting Drury’s sexual advances, the suit says.
They next day, Terry reported the harassment to two division commanders, including now-Chief Michael Cimaglia, the suit says. Cimaglia and the other division commander told Terry to report the harassment to the city’s attorney, Anthony Bertuca.
By March 2016, after months without a response from the city about their investigation, Terry filed charges with Illinois Department of Human Rights against Drury and the city, the suit says. The department issued notices of “substantial evidence” against the city and Drury for the sexual harassment on Sept. 5.
According to the suit, Drury acknowledged his behavior in a November 2016 phone call with Terry “and others,” saying: “I’m a man. God made me the way I am. I would like to apologize to Carm[elita] for my behavior.”
Terry is seeking more than $30,000 in damages, as well as an order for the Berwyn Police Department to take steps to curb harassment.