Recent allegations of sexual misconduct in the Chicago Park District resulted in the previous Superintendent stepping down. According to a recent news report, in April of 2020, an investigation was opened into complaints of sexual harassment, abuse, assault and other misconduct against dozens of employees in the Aquatics Department. Evidently, there was a pattern of sexual abuse being committed against lifeguards, many of which were underage girls.
While the Superintendent is not accused of any wrongdoing himself, some point the finger of blame, claiming that he is “guilty of deceit and failing to take critical steps to promote the zero-tolerance standards that must replace this frat boy culture that has been allowed to flourish here for too long.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that she received information—which she couldn’t divulge—leading her to seek the removal of the superintendent. Later that week, Mayor Lightfoot publicly called for the superintendent’s resignation. He resigned mere hours later.
The allegations of sexual abuse appear to be pervasive throughout the Aquatics Department. The first lifeguard to come forward was a 17-year-old girl who detailed “extreme abuse” at the hands of supervisors. When she asked the superintendent to forward her the Department’s report, the superintendent assured her he would send it over “immediately.” However, it was not until 41 days later—and after another lifeguard came forward detailing the abuses she suffered—that the superintendent provided the lifeguard with a copy of the report.
The Cook County State Attorney’s Office has opened a formal investigation into the allegations of abuse.
Holding Abusers Responsible for Their Actions
Sexual abuse is all too common in today’s society, although it often goes undetected. Those who experienced sexual abuse may feel as though there is no point in coming forward or fear the embarrassment of doing so. However, reporting allegations of sexual abuse not only can vindicate those who were forced to endure it, but it can also prevent further acts of abuse from occurring in the future.
Those experiencing sexual abuse can pursue a claim for financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. These claims, based in civil law, differ from criminal prosecutions in that they are focused on providing survivors of sexual abuse with meaningful compensation for what they’ve been through. On the other hand, criminal cases against abusers are intended to punish wrongdoers based on the fact they violated the law. However, criminal proceedings do not permit the judge to award a victim compensation for their physical and emotional injurys; this is only available through a personal injury lawsuit.
Have You Experienced Sexual Abuse?
If you suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of a colleague, supervisor, or anyone else, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for what you’ve been through. At the Chicago sexual assault law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. can help. We have decades of experience holding those who engage in sexual abuse accountable for their actions. We also recognize the challenges survivors face in coming forward and strive to make the process as easy as possible for you and your family. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 312-924-7575 today.