Chicago Park District announces 42 employees disciplined in lifeguard sex harassment probe

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, August 16, 2021
Park District says 42 employees disciplined in sex harassment probe
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The Chicago Park District is taking disciplinary action against employees in the beaches and pools unit.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dozens of Chicago Park District employees are facing disciplinary action and the District implementing sweeping changes

"These suspensions today are big. This is going to send a ripple or ripple effect through the district," said Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly.

The announcement Monday comes weeks ahead of an Office of Inspector General report's release looking into sexual harassment allegations from 2020.

WATCH: 42 Park District employees disciplined in sex harassment probe

Chicago Park District Commissioner Michael Kelly announces 42 employees have been disciplined in connection with a sexual harassment probe of the Beaches and Pools unit.

"We have taken disciplinary action against 42 employees, including now two high level management staff. The Assistant Director of beaches and pools, and the beaches and pools manager were both placed on emergency suspension last Friday," Kelly said.

An additional seven employees were also placed on emergency suspension pending the outcome of the OIG investigation; six others have resigned and were placed on a "do not hire" list. The remaining employees received a written reprimand, suspension, chose to resign or were terminated.

Kelly also announced the creation of a new Office of Protection.

"My vision with this is intended to serve as an intake point for verification, assessment and assignment of complaints," the superintendent said.

In February 2020 a female lifeguard, who was a minor at the time, reported sexual harassment allegations to the district and followed up with a 11-page note on how male lifeguards verbally and physically harassed her.

Kelly said he launched an investigation by notifying his managers, but admits he did not notify the park district's inspector general until six weeks later, after another complaint surfaced and City Hall got involved.

RELATED: Chicago Park District head defends actions in lifeguard sexual harassment investigation

"I understand the frustration with the time that is taken to look into these complaints," Kelly said. "Investigations never happened fast enough but I assure every person who has been impacted by this case that this is top of mind for me."