Glenview Park District being sued after former lifeguard allegedly exposed himself to kids

24-year-old Des Plaines man charged with sexual exploitation of a child, disorderly conduct

Michelle Gallardo Image
Thursday, April 4, 2024
Mother suing Glenview Pk. Dis. over alleged lifeguard exposure speaks out
Glenview Park District is being sued after Zachary Cortes, a former lifeguard at Splash Landings Indoor Aquatic Center, allegedly exposed himself.

GLENVIEW, Ill. (WLS) -- The Glenview Park District is being sued, after a former lifeguard allegedly exposed himself to children and the park district kept him employed.

Zachary Cortes worked at the Splash Landings Indoor Aquatic Center.

The suit claims the first complaint against him came in on Jan. 5.

But it wasn't until Jan. 20, when a second complaint was reported, that he was arrested.

"Management simply just sat on it; I mean this should've been a situation where Mr. Cortes was arrested that day, and all male lifeguards suspended," said Jack Casciato, a partner at Curcio & Casciato. "You can't continue to operate a pool knowing that a sexual predator is working around small children for 14 days. It was just a matter of time until another victim. Unfortunately, my client fell victim to his sexually predatory nature."

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That's why one parent decided to file a lawsuit.

On Jan. 20, a scared 8-year-old girl allegedly ran up to her parents watching her from behind the glass. Her mother, who is only being identified as Jane Doe A, spoke with ABC7 Chicago.

"She said, 'Mommy, do you see that lifeguard there on the slide?' I said, 'yeah.' She said, 'I was going down the slide, and he asked me to scratch his leg. And I know I shouldn't have done it, but I really thought I could trust him, so I did it,'" she said.

That's when Jane Doe A said the lifeguard revealed his genitals to her daughter. Police were called to the Glenview Park District Facility immediately.

"When the police got there, the first thing they said was 'oh yeah, we already have a case on this guy,'" she said.

Casciato said the first incident happened during a birthday party at the pool. He is suing the park district on behalf of Jane Doe A.

Cortes, 24, of Des Plaines has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child and disorderly conduct.

In a statement, the district said it conducts criminal background checks on all employees.

It also said they are aware of the allegations, and are continuing to cooperate with police.

"The Glenview Park District takes the safety of all patrons, and particularly its minor patrons, very seriously... The Park District does not publicly comment on pending litigation or matters involving minors," the district said in a statement.

Glenview police previously said Cortes was no longer a lifeguard as of at least Jan. 22, but he is free, pending trial.

His next court date is May 16 at the Skokie Courthouse.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Glenview Police Tip Line at 847-901-6055.