COPA's Chicago police migrant sex investigation unable to find any alleged victim so far

Tuesday, July 18, 2023
COPA unable to substantiate CPD migrant sex allegations so far
COPA's investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Chicago police officers has not been able to substantiate the claims so far.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While hundreds of migrants remain at Chicago police stations, the 10th District in North Lawndale has been quiet.

Asylum-seekers were cleared out after an allegation of sexual misconduct was reported to the Civilian of Police Accountability, known as COPA, on July 6.

"The allegation involved a specific officer, accused him of sexual contact with an unidentified underage female migrant, and indicated several other unidentified officers from 10th District may also have engaged in similar misconduct," said COPA Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten.

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After an almost two-week investigation, Kersten said, so far, the allegations are unsubstantiated.

"To be very clear, we have not identified any individual migrant claiming to have direct knowledge or be the victim of any form of sexual misconduct by a member of the Chicago Police Department," Kersten said.

Kersten said the information about the allegation came from a city employee. Because of the unprecedented amount of public scrutiny surrounding the allegations, COPA held a rare news conference to give an update. It included another allegation of sexual misconduct at the 19th Police District in Lakeview, but investigators have not been able to identify an officer or migrant victim.

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"We intend to exhaust all efforts," Kersten said.

Kersten said over one dozen COPA investigators and employees, many Spanish-speaking, are working on the cases. The Fraternal Order of Police and some aldermen have questioned the legitimacy of the allegations.

COPA's investigation included 10 investigations, two supervising investigators, one director of investigations and two deputy chief administrators, said. Investigators have worked with DCFS, OEMC, CPD and community advocates and worked to canvass migrant shelters and reach out to members of the migrant community.

"We are going to see what COPA discovers and what information they will provide with the us before we make any proclamation on next steps," said Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The 10th Police District is in Alderwoman Monique Scott's ward, where the migrants were immediately moved after COPA received the allegations.

"I don't know if they are rabble-rousers working against the system. Nevertheless, they didn't belong on police station floors," Scott said.

At this point, COPA has not recommended to CPD that any officer be stripped of police powers at the 10th District.

Andrea Kersten said the investigations from the 10th and 19th districts will remain open. She asked for the public's patience and participation.

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