Iroquois Co. (ECWd) -
In January of this year, we broke the story about allegations of Sexual Harassment by the Watseka Police Chief, Jeremy Douglas (article here). The fallout from that story took two directions. Denials from those close to Douglas, and more tips from those within the department. The latter grew legs!
We ended up having to sue the city to get records they tried to keep secret. Improper redactions of public records are always the first indicator they have something to hide from the public. What did we obtain from that suit? Documented findings from the initial investigation that were redacted in our FOIA request and only obtained after we sued them for improper redactions to a public record.
The content explains why they did not want it out. (Interview statements here)
"Deputy Brenner recalled an incident in 2015 which occurred at the Iroquois County Jail Deputy Room. Present in the room were Chief Douglas, Ashley and Deputy Brenner. Deputy Brenner observed Chief Douglas place his hands inside Ashley's uniform and run his hands up and down her duty vest. The incident lasted two or three seconds. Deputy Brenner was "stunned" by what he observed and "confronted" Chief Douglas. He admonished Chief Douglas that his conduct was inappropriate and not allowed at the jail facility. After being confronted, Chief Douglas made a comment, in Ashley's presence, that is was "OK," because the Chief ·made her stand up so he could see how her ass (or butt) looked in the uniform when he bought it," or words to that effect. According to Deputy Brenner, there is no way Chief Douglas' actions were innocent or accidental. Deputy Brenner has known Chief Douglas for many years and was very surprised because he had never observed him engage in like conduct before. The Police Department currently purchases ammunition from Deputy Brenner's side business. The point being, he has nothing to gain by getting involved. The incident was mentioned to me by Ashley and is referenced in her interview summary."
"Sergeant Stanley heard Chief Douglas comment several times about Ashley's body. He recalls at least 10 (probably more) occasions where the Chief commented (or words to the effect) about Ashley's "ass," that Ashley was "hot," that Ashley looked good in high heels and similar inappropriate comments. He observed Chief Douglas place his hands on Ashley's shoulder (usually in the break room) at least five times. On one occasion he recalls Ashley telling the Chief that she did not like being touched. Sergeant Stanley also stated that Lt. King would frequently comment (loudly) around the station, on occasion in the Chief's presence, "what did I teach you, put it in the Butt." Recently, the Chief called Sergeant Stanley into his office and stated "you are either with us or against us." Sergeant Stanley complained that the Chief has recently put his work performance under a microscope, an act he interprets him as an act of retaliation for possibly cooperating in the investigation."
"Officer Stua - On one occasion Officer Stua recalled the Chief telling Ashley to "stand up and turn around" in her new uniform. According to Officer Stua, it was obvious that the comment was sexual. Officer Stua also observed the Chief rub Ashley's shoulders at least twice. Each act took approximately four or five seconds. It was obvious the Chiefs actions were unwelcome. He observed the Chief smell Ashley's hair (in close proximity to her scalp), with the Chief commenting how nice her hair smelled. On several occasions in front of the Chief, Lt. King commented to Officer Stua "so how was she" or words to that effect. Chief Douglas called Officer Stua into his office after Thanksgiving and commented (similar to Sergeant Stanley) that "you are either with me or against me." Officer Stua heard the Chief commenting about Ashley having sex with State troopers, a Manteno police officer and that a State Trooper had nude photographs on Ashley on his telephone."
Four officers questioned by an attorney as part of the investigation and three of them confirm what appears to be a clear case of sexual harassment, yet Chief Douglas still has his job. For those who claimed it never happened, we suggest you take that up with the three officers named above who say otherwise.
We understand the allegations against Chief Douglas have now moved to the point of the City agreeing to mediation. We will update as this moves through the process of resolution. We predict the City will be on the losing end and at some point, the City officials are going to realize they have much bigger problems to deal with in the Police Department under the control of Douglas.
Stay tuned for further exposure of what goes on behind the Chief Douglas curtain in the Watseka Police Department to include refusal to cooperate in an investigation by the Illinois State Police regarding $4,000.00 missing from evidence. "He told them if no one cooperated, the case would go dead, and "this will all go away."
A copy of the interview statements can be downloaded from the above link, this link, or viewed below.