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Animal Control Employee Sexually Assaulted 2 Coworkers, City Watchdog Says

An animal control worker was fired and a supervisor was suspended for failing to report the sexual assault to his superior, the city's Inspector General's report states.

Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.
Heather Cherone / The Daily Line
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CHICAGO — A Chicago Animal Care and Control worker has been fired after allegedly sexually assaulting two coworkers while off duty, and a supervisor has been suspended for failing to report the incident, according to the city’s top watchdog.

The Office of Inspector General’s most recent quarterly report shows that four animal control workers —including two supervisors — have been disciplined in the fallout from the sexual assault cases.

An animal control officer was fired after they sexually assault two coworkers while off duty and away from the office, according to the report from Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s office.

Both the offending officer and the coworkers who were victims reported the incident to a supervisor, but the supervisor did not report the event to their superior. When an employee criticized the supervisor’s handling of the incident, the supervisor called the employee a “b—-,” according to the report.

While the case was being investigated by Chicago Police and the inspector general’s office, another animal control supervisor and a dispatcher posted images in the office that “decried ‘snitching,'” the inspector general’s report reads.

The supervisor who didn’t report the incident was suspended for seven days by the animal control agency. The supervisor who posted the “snitching” image was suspended for one day, and the dispatcher who posted similar images was made to undergo counseling, according to the inspector general.

The worker accused of sexual assault was fired and placed on the city’s do-not-hire list. It is unclear if criminal charges have been filed in this case. The inspector general’s report does not say when the incident took place.

Animal care administrators were informed of the incident in early 2020, spokesperson Jenny Schlueter said.

The agency’s leadership then notified the Department of Human Resources. Animal care workers are undergoing the city’s annual sexual harassment training as well, she said.

“Chicago Animal Care and Control takes any allegations of sexual harassment seriously, and the department is committed to providing a safe workplace for staff, volunteers, and visitors,” Schlueter said in a statement.

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