A Chicago firefighter was allowed to return to work after he was charged with sexually assaulting and hitting a woman with whom he’s going through a divorce, the Tribune has confirmed.
The firefighter was arrested July 15, and charged with felony criminal sexual assault and misdemeanor domestic battery, according to court records. Officials said he was allowed back on the job because the matter was deemed domestic.
The Tribune is not naming the firefighter to avoid identifying the alleged victim. Court records show the accused firefighter in the case has been involved in divorce proceedings with the alleged victim since June 2020.
The firefighter and the woman started having consensual sex before she eventually wanted to stop, according to the allegations in a police report. But the firefighter continued to force himself on her against her will and hitting her, the police report states.
Cook County Judge Charles Beach II set the firefighter’s bail at $30,000, records show. He eventually posted the necessary $3,000 – or 10% of his bond – before his release from Cook County Jail.
The firefighter was then placed on GPS monitoring and ordered to not have any contact with his accuser while his case is pending, court records show.
Larry Langford, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman, confirmed the firefighter returned to his normal work duties.
Langford said the department evaluates each case when a firefighter is charged with a crime to determine whether it would impact their ability to interact with the public. For this particular case, Langford said, the fact that the allegations are domestic in nature “does make a difference,” and based on those facts, the department allowed the firefighter to return to work.
According to city records, the firefighter is listed as a “firefighter-EMT (recruit)” with an annual salary of $84,192.
While there are no records showing the victim in this case was a CFD employee, the allegations come at a time when the department has faced criticism for its handling of sexual harassment accusations made by female employees.
In April, the city’s inspector general’s office released a report saying that CFD needs to put in place stronger policies to deal with sexual harassment. And in June, the city settled for $1.83 million with five female CFD paramedics who sued the city alleging they were groped, stalked and forced to endure repeated sexually explicit remarks from bosses, and that the city failed to take steps to stop a pervasive culture of sexual harassment throughout the fire department’s firehouses and other facilities.