Report: Fire commissioner harassment claim ignored

March 5, 2010 2:02:56 PM PST
Chicago's fire commissioner is taking a leave of absence after being accused of sexual harassment.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Commissioner John Brooks is accused of harassment by a payroll auditor and that her claims were shelved by the head of the city's Office of Compliance.

Deidre Green produced cell phone records to the paper, showing Brooks called her cell phone between July and October of 2008.

Brooks acknowledged to the Sun-Times that he did call Green, but denies that he ever propositioned her, and Green admits that she also called Brooks.

Anthony Boswell, the city's chief compliance officer, denies that he shelved the allegations to protect Brooks.

Boswell himself is currently on a 30-day suspension for allegedly mishandling another sexual harassment claim. He is suing to get that suspension overturned.

Fire department spokesperson Larry Langford released a statement Friday afternoon saying: "Commissioner Brooks said he fully understands the seriousness of the allegation and the need to immediately address it. He said he is concerned that remaining on the job while the investigation is underway could lead to the appearance of undue influence or interference on his part, and he does not want that."

The statement goes on to say that Brooks plans to cooperate fully with the investigation while on leave.