Judiciary

A judge in suburban Chicago has been accused in a judicial ethics complaint of making false statements about a gun incident and retaliating against two employees who accused him of sexual harassment.

Judge Patrick O’Shea of DuPage County was accused in a misconduct complaint filed Thursday by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, report the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald. A press release and the complaint are here.

O’Shea went so far as to tell the supervisor of one employee that he would hold her in contempt and have her arrested if necessary, the complaint alleges.

O’Shea had been charged criminally with misdemeanor reckless conduct for firing a gun in his apartment in Wheaton, Illinois, in September 2017. The bullet traveled through the wall into his neighbors’ unit. No one was at home at the time. A judge in a neighboring county acquitted O’Shea in March based on a finding that his conduct wasn’t reckless because he did not endanger anyone.

But the Judicial Inquiry Board said O’Shea gave conflicting statements about the incident to police and ethics investigators. At first, O’Shea told police there were two holes in his wall, and they were caused by a screwdriver and a nail gun, the complaint said. When a detective informed O’Shea that a bullet was found in a neighboring apartment, O’Shea said his son must have accidentally fired the gun. Finally, O’Shea admitted he had fired the gun accidentally, according to the complaint.

He maintained to ethics investigators he told police in the first instance that he had fired the gun, according to the complaint.

Two women had alleged in August 2017 that O’Shea made comments about their appearance that made them uncomfortable. An internal investigation found the complaints to be credible and substantiated, the complaint said. Ten days after being informed of the findings, he filed a complaint with human resources against one of the women that questioned her job performance and challenged the sexual harassment claim, according to the Judicial Inquiry Board.

The prior year, a judge and an administrative assistant had complained to O’Shea’s supervisor that he was making comments that made them uncomfortable, the complaint alleged. An internal court investigation found the claim was substantiated, and it constituted sexual harassment. After that, O’Shea would not allow the assistant into his office when he was there.

At one point, the assistant tried to ask O’Shea about a court document and he shouted at her to stay outside his office, the complaint said. A “verbal exchange” with the assistant happened in the hallway, according to the complaint.

O’Shea then complained to the assistant’s supervisor that she had raised her voice and he wanted her fired, the complaint said. He allegedly complained that the assistant was “nasty and loud,” and he didn’t like her tattoos.

According to the complaint, O’Shea contacted the assistant’s supervisor a few days later and said he would hold the employee in contempt and have her taken into custody if necessary. He also complained about the tattoos again and described them as “gang-related.”

O’Shea remains assigned to administrative duties. He is on the November ballot in a retention election.

O’Shea’s lawyer, Adrian Vuckovich, told the Chicago Tribune that O’Shea looks forward to proving his innocence on the ethics charges. “Judge O’Shea is a good judge and an honorable person,” Vuckovich said. “We don’t think because there’s some kind of personality conflict between people, that amounts to misconduct by a judge. The truth will show that Judge O’Shea has not done anything improper.”


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