Crime & Courts

Berwyn detective files sexual harassment lawsuit against deputy police chief

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BERWYN – A longtime Berwyn detective has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Deputy Police Chief Joseph Drury and the city of Berwyn.

The suit, which was filed Nov. 9 by Detective Carmelita Terry in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges Drury harassed her from September 2014 until October 2015. The lawsuit contends Drury’s conduct created “an intimidating, hostile and offensive working environment” for Terry.

The suit claims Drury frequently made sexually suggestive comments to Terry and enquired about her sex life, which made her feel “distressed and offended.” In addition, the suit alleges Drury threatened to rape Terry on Sept. 23, 2015, and later on the same day, Terry stated she feared for her safety after Drury hovered very close to her while the two were alone in an office.

On Oct. 8, 2015, the suit contends Drury ordered Terry to complete a task she felt was unlawful, and when she refused to carry out his order, Drury allegedly became enraged. Terry told then-Unit Cmdr. Frank Cimaglia about the incident and that she feared she would lose her job in retaliation for rejecting Drury’s sexual advances, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that on Oct. 9, 2015, Terry reported the details of her encounters with Drury to city of Berwyn attorney Anthony Bertuca and separately to then-Police Chief James Ritz. On March 9, 2016, after reportedly not receiving a response from the city, Terry filed charges with the Illinois Department of Human Rights against the city and Drury. In a phone call between Terry, Drury and others in November 2016, Drury allegedly acknowledged his behavior and apologized to Terry, according to the suit.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights issued Notices of Substantial Evidence against the city and Drury on Sept. 5, 2017, for the allegations made in the lawsuit.

The city of Berwyn responded to the lawsuit on its Facebook page. In the statement, City Administrator Brian Pabst said the city takes the allegations very seriously and orders its employees to undergo sexual harassment training.

“Once the City received Detective Terry’s complaints, the City ordered an immediate independent investigation,” Pabst said in the statement. “Further, the Police Chief instructed Drury to have no contact with Terry. All allegations came back unfounded by the investigation. The investigation involved interviewing independent witnesses that were named by Terry and none of those individuals corroborated Terry’s allegations. The City has reviewed the lawsuit and there are no new allegations contained in the lawsuit. If any new allegations arise, the City will promptly order a new independent investigation.”

Terry is seeking a trial by jury and $30,000 in compensatory damages for humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress.