Chicago cop resigns amid investigations of sex crime against teen boy, bar fight
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A Chicago police sergeant who’d been on desk duty since shortly after he was accused of touching the genitals of a teenage boy over his clothes at a Fourth of July family reunion in Michigan in 2015 has resigned.
Sgt. Eric J. Elkins, 45, had been the subject of internal affairs investigations into those allegations and separately over a beating outside a North Side bar in September.
His resignation took effect Thursday, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago Police Department spokesman.
Elkins had been charged in Michigan in 2016 with criminal sexual conduct involving a teenager between the ages of 13 and 15, as well as assault and “jostling,” a disorderly conduct offense. Those charges stemmed from the family party in rural Ogemaw County, Michigan, where he grew up.
The sex charge — which was a misdemeanor but could have resulted in a prison sentence of as much as two years — was dropped several months later, with Elkins pleading guilty to the lesser offenses and avoiding prison and sex-offender registration.
Elkins, described in police reports as “pretty intoxicated” at the time of the party, was given one year of probation and 80 hours of community service and ordered to undergo substance-abuse treatment, according to Michigan records.
As required, Elkins informed his bosses in Chicago about the case, which prompted the opening of an internal affairs investigation.
Though that investigation was still open, Chicago police internal affairs detectives didn’t interview Elkins until Chicago Sun-Times reporters asked about the case in 2018.
Until he quit as of last week, he continued to be paid a salary of more than $104,000 a year.
The department can’t take disciplinary action against Elkins now that he’s resigned.
What will come of the second internal investigation isn’t clear. The police department opened that case after an incident Sept. 29 at the @tmosphere Bar in Andersonville while Elkins was off duty.
Two men — John Sherwood and his partner Tom Stacha — were beaten so badly outside the bar they ended up in a hospital.
They sued Elkins and others who were with him at the bar, including Dwayne Jones, then an Oak Park cop who co-owns a townhouse with Elkins. Also with them were Giovanni Rodriguez and Jeffrey Rodriguez, who in court papers portrayed Elkins and Jones as the aggressors.
Elkins and Jones left before responding officers arrived, according to police reports.
Neither Elkins nor Jones has been charged in the bar beating. Neither could be reached for comment.
Sherwood has described Elkins as being in “a fit of rage” at the bar and said he was pummeled by the officer, resulting in a broken leg.
Tim Cavanagh, a lawyer who is representing Sherwood and Stacha, said his clients recently spoke with investigators from the police department and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office about what happened outside the bar.
The state’s attorney’s office wouldn’t discuss the case.
Jones has resigned from the Oak Park police department, according to a village spokesman.
Previously, Elkins had been indicted by a Cook County grand jury in 2003, accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a teenage boy who was a student at Amundsen High School in Ravenswood, where Elkins was working as a Chicago Public Schools security guard in addition to being a police officer. According to court records, they would meet at the boy’s locker and engaged in sexual acts — in one instance in a bathroom at the high school.
Elkins was found “not guilty” in 2004 by Cook County Circuit Judge Kenneth Wadas, who has said he didn’t “think the victim was credible.”
Since the Michigan incident, Elkins has gotten at least two union-mandated pay raises and continued to accrue credits toward a taxpayer-subsidized pension.
Because the allegations he was under internal investigation over involved off-duty conduct, whatever comes of them isn’t likely to cause him to lose his police pension. But his eventual retirement payouts won’t be as high as they would have been had he remained on the department through the end of this year, when he would have marked his 20-year anniversary as a Chicago cop.