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Former Chicago lifeguard files lawsuit against city for sexual harassment – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – His calls for help were ignored.

Another victim of the Chicago Park District scandal involving young lifeguards emerged after two scathing reports led to disciplinary action against dozens of employees and the resignation of the Park District superintendent last month.

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CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey reports that this victim sounded the alarm in 2017. CBS 2 has the emails here to prove it, sent to Chicago City Beach Managers and Human Resources to ask. to be reassigned because of the harassment she suffered. But she said no one answered.

“She asked to be transferred, she asked them to do something. And she never got a response from anyone. No answer. Silence.”

She is listed as Jane Doe in Thursday’s lawsuit against the Chicago Park District and three employee rescuers. She worked as a junior lifeguard at Oak Street Beach, a coveted assignment, for four years starting in 2014, when she was just 16.

“Companions and captains were mostly men, while junior rescuers were mostly women. “

Her lawyer Bridget Duignan has said for years that she is exposed to a culture of sexual assault, harassment and gender-based violence.

An example? The so-called “sexual harassment Saturdays”.

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“It was an activity that allowed male rescuers to inappropriately touch – and without consent – female rescuers throughout the day,” Duignan said. “And it was also conduct that was sanctioned by companions and captains.”

Emails obtained by CBS 2 investigators show that she requested to be reassigned twice in 2017, citing abusive treatment by her superiors. The subject line of an email: “C-worker Concerns, open ASAP. “

Diignan said the “code of silence” was part of the problem.

“There is no doubt in my mind that this was the first or the only complaint filed at the time,” she said. “Those who were in power failed in this duty.”

An investigation into harassment among rescuers began last March, resulting in disciplinary action against 42 employees.
A total of 14 Park District employees have been made redundant or prevented from rehiring from the start. According to a research of recent city wage data, the three male rescuers named in Jane Doe’s trial are no longer employed by the city.

The Chicago Park District issued a statement to CBS 2:

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The Chicago Park District takes all allegations of malpractice and abuse very seriously. We continue to support the OIG’s ongoing investigation and review our policies and processes to ensure that all employees and customers are safe and respected, and that their concerns are heard and addressed with urgency and compassion.

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