CHICAGO (CN) – The Will County sheriff hired a private investigator to stalk a former employee, videotape her family and make prank calls to her to intimidate her into dropping a sexual harassment case against the Sheriff’s Office, the woman claims in Federal Court.
Marlis O’Leary sued the Will County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Paul Kaupas.
O’Leary says she worked as a Will County corrections officer from 2006 to 2012.
“(D)uring plaintiff’s employment, she was subjected to severe and debilitating sexual harassment by multiple co-workers,” O’Leary claims.
“Plaintiff was subjected to sexually harassing comments such as ‘I like your tits;’ ‘Is that a new bra;’ ‘I want to see you only wearing your vest;’ ‘Can I have a kiss – I haven’t felt a woman in a long time;’ ‘bitch;’ ‘dike;’ ‘swamp donkey;’ ‘swamp bucket;’ ‘whore;’ repeated requests to engage in sexual conduct; questions about her favorite sexual positions; and requests to show her ‘tits.'”
O’Leary says she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July 2007 and sued in December 2008, after which sheriff’s employees began harassing her at her home.
“For example, defendants’ Correctional Officers Mike Harkins, one of the sexual harassers named in plaintiff’s complaint, and Vincent Perillo drove repeatedly past her house; snowballs were being thrown against her home’s windows at night; and on one occasion, plaintiff came home and saw a man wearing a black hoodie with ‘Sheriff’ written across the back rummaging around the side of her house,” O’Leary claims.
She says the Sherriff’s Office attorney told her “that if she would go to court and ask the judge to dismiss her case ‘all this would stop.'”
The complaint continues: “(The) defendants then hired men to spy on plaintiff and her family.
“Defendants hired the Insight Group, a private investigation firm, to follow the plaintiff, monitor her home, photograph her family, videotape plaintiff’s actions, place repeated hangup phone calls to the plaintiff’s home and knock on the plaintiff’s door and run away.
“Defendants provided these men hired to spy on plaintiff and her family with confidential information from her personnel records such as her telephone number and address. Defendant further provided confidential documents from plaintiff’s personnel file and the personnel file of her fiancé Scott Carey to aid in the stalking of plaintiff. …
“Defendants, through these men, stalked plaintiff on numerous occasions, including but not limited to following her on March 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 20, 2010.
“(The) defendants were aware at the time that doctors had diagnosed Plaintiff with post-traumatic stress disorder. …
“Defendant’s conduct of stalking and harassing plaintiff worsened plaintiff’s depression and anxiety and contributed to her inability to return to work and resulted in her termination.”
O’Leary adds: “Defendants practice a pattern of retaliating against those who complain of discrimination by fabricating employee complaints against those who complain for the purpose of investigating, demoting, terminating, or otherwise subjecting them to inferior terms and conditions of employment.”
She seeks punitive damages for retaliation, costs, and an injunction to stop the harassment.
She is represented by Scott Fanning, with Asonye & Associates.