Berwyn police detective files sexual harassment suit against deputy chief

Saturday, 11 November 2017, 03:36:49 AM. Berwyn Police Department detective alleges sexual harassment in lawsuit against deputy chief

For about a year, Berwyn Deputy Police Chief Joseph Drury repeatedly made sexually harassing comments to a female detective and once threatened to rape her, according to a lawsuit the detective filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court.

Detective Carmelita Terry, a 27-year veteran of the department who filed suit on Thursday against Drury and the city of Berwyn, contends that the harassment began in September 2014 and continued into early October 2015.

Drury did not respond to voicemail messages for comment at his office and apparent cellphone and home numbers. Police Chief Michael Cimaglia did not respond to a voicemail message at his office. Berwyn City Attorney Anthony Bertuca declined comment, saying he had not seen the lawsuit.

The eight-page complaint contends that Drury “at least several times a month” made repeated statements to Terry that he wanted to get her in bed and could sexually please her. He asked “sexually-charged” questions, including whom the detective slept with. And on Sept. 23, 2015, Drury called Terry into his office and said, “I’m going to rape you,” the lawsuit states.

About that same time in a separate incident, Drury entered the office where Terry was working and ordered a colleague to leave. With the door closed, Drury hovered within inches of Terry at her desk and whispered his explicit sexual intentions, the lawsuit states.

The complaint also contends that Drury on Oct. 8, 2015, ordered Terry to conduct a law enforcement background search on a victim so that Drury could provide that information to the alleged perpetrator. Terry refused to perform the search, prompting Drury to scream profane threats at her.

The detective “perceived Drury’s order and subsequent comments as an effort to set her up for reprimand or termination in retaliation for rejecting his sexual advances,” the lawsuit states.

In October 2015, Terry reported the alleged sexual harassment to superiors, one of whom was Cimaglia, the lawsuit contends. Her complaint made its way to then-Police Chief James Ritz and Bertuca. Terry received no response and filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in March 2016, according to the lawsuit.

In a November 2016 phone call with Terry and others, Drury acknowledged his misconduct, the lawsuit contends.

“I am a man,” the lawsuit paraphrases Drury saying in the call. “God made me the way I am. I would like to apologize to Carm(elita) for my behavior.”

In September of this year, the IDHR issued a Notice of Substantial Evidence against Berwyn and Drury stemming from Terry’s complaint, the lawsuit states. That finding means sufficient evidence exists for Terry to take the complaint to an administrative law judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission or to a state circuit court, according to IDHR’s guidebook on filing a charge of discrimination.

Terry is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $30,000, court orders prohibiting Drury from engaging in or acquiescing to sexual harassment and the implementation of “effective steps to eliminate sexual harassment and retaliation from the Berwyn Police Department.”

No court hearing has been set.

tgregory@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @tgregoryreports

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