Tony DeBois, ex-Markham deputy police chief, indicted

March 7, 2013 3:11:54 PM PST
The former deputy police chief of suburban Markham appeared in court Thursday charged with sexual abuse.

The charges against Tony DeBois follow a federal investigation.

The former deputy chief was freed from custody Thursday on a personal recognize bond. The judge also told him he could have no firearms, no police uniforms, badges or credentials.

DeBois's attorney tells ABC7 that the Markham Police Department let him go about a month ago. In addition to chief, DeBois had also served as inspector general.

Now DeBois is on the flip side of the law, facing allegations of aggravated sexual abuse.

"I've been involved in this job a long time," said DeBois outside the Dirksen Federal Building. "Why would I wait until now to be a criminal?"

Officially, DeBois pleaded not guilty Thursday.

"I don't believe that the one single charge brought today against Mr. DeBois is even remotely true," said Robert Kuzas, DeBois' attorney.

The feds targeted DeBois at his Matteson home early Thursday morning.

"I see them get out of there trucks in their camouflage, FBI on the back of their shirts, big rifles and guns," said neighbor Verinda Magee Dawson. "That thing they use to knock the doors down, they had it and they went running down the street."

The front door of DeBois' home is busted and broken open. His neighbor says he left the home in handcuffs.

In court, prosecutors revealed little, only saying DeBois, who worked as deputy chief from 2008 to 2011, violated the civil rights of the victim, including a forcible sex act. It allegedly happened in September 2010.

"I didn't even know he was a police," said neighbor Everton Robinson. "I never seen him in uniform."

DeBois' attorney questions the timing of this case, saying DeBois was in charge of an internal affairs investigation that involved Mayor David Webb's son.

Officers Andrew Webb, the son, and Darryl Starks are accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a Dolton warehouse during a police investigation in 2010.

DeBois' attorney says DeBois recommended the officers be fired. They weren't.

"It seems a little suspicious," Kuzas said. "Now they are the star witnesses for the government against Tony DeBois?"

Thursday, the police chief did not return phone calls, and Mayor Webb had "no comment."

The recent turmoil at the police department has some questioning the mayor, especially with the upcoming election.

"It is a mayoral issue," said write-in candidate Errol Powell. "It's an issue of decision-making on the mayor's part because these are individuals he picked himself."

DeBois, a 17-year police veteran, has been in the news before. More than a dozen civil lawsuits have been filed against him, not only in Markham, but also in Harvey where he served on the police force as well.

If convicted of this aggravated sexual abuse charge, he could face up to life in prison.