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updated: 3/20/2013 1:01 PM

COD candidate was fired for sexual harrassment claims

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  • Frank Flores

      Frank Flores

 
 

A candidate for the College of DuPage board of trustees was fired as a COD employee in 2010 after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced, officials said Tuesday.

Frank Flores, Jr. was employed as a temporary assistant aquatics manager from Aug. 18, 2010 to Dec. 2, 2010.

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A female lifeguard told the college's human resources department in November 2010 that she experienced sexual harassment of a verbal nature from Flores, according to COD President Robert Breuder.

A male student later came to HR to corroborate the lifeguard's claim, and reported he had witnessed "touching" as well, Breuder said.

He also said another female student corroborated the lifeguard's original complaint.

During an interview with HR, the lifeguard, who was a student, said she also experienced harassment via text message, Breuder said.

In a separate case, a patron of the pool told police Flores had made "inappropriate comments" to her, including "I want to taste you," and "I pee'd in the pool," according to an Oct. 30, 2010 COD Police Department report.

The report was labeled a disorderly conduct incident, but prosecution was declined by the complainant.

Flores was terminated by the college and made ineligible for rehire, Breuder said.

Flores said Tuesday he was "dismissed unjustly after a cursory review of the facts."

If officials would have investigated it any further, Flores said they would have found "it wouldn't have carried any water."

He also said up until now, he had only been told by COD officials that an accusation of verbal sexual harassment had been made, but allegations of physical contact "is news to me."

Flores said he has worked in aquatics for some time, including 14 years at the Glen Ellyn Park District, and five years at HealthTrack in Glen Ellyn -- but it wasn't until he got to COD that such accusations were made.

"I've dealt with youth," Flores said. "I know improper touch."

Flores said he was hired as interim assistant aquatics director after the director had been dismissed. The employees who remained "resented me on several levels," he said.

"I replaced someone they liked," he said.

Flores said he invited the lifeguard to a diplomatic soiree at the Swiss embassy in downtown Chicago -- like he has done with other students. But she interpreted it as something more, telling HR it was a "wine and cheese party," Flores said.

He said the lifeguard had once sent him a text message that said "come pick me up."

Flores said in a close race, news of the sexual harassment allegations and disorderly conduct report could "torpedo" his candidacy.

Flores, who is running with the endorsement of the COD Faculty Association, said a faculty member knew about the allegations and previously asked him about it.

"I said let it come out because anyone saying this is subject to libel," Flores said. "It's malicious and unsubstantiated."

Flores said Breuder doesn't want him elected.

"He's digging in the basket of the unsubstantiated."

Breuder wouldn't say whether he views Flores as a good candidate for the board of trustees.

"It's up to the disposition of the people who go to the polls in April who they think will best represent them," Breuder said. "They should know the candidates, their backgrounds, what they bring to the table and what contributions they can make."

"It's a great opportunity and we have to take it seriously."

Also running are Board Chairman Dave Carlin, incumbent Trustee Joe Wozniak, Ed Agustin, Mike Lanners and Kathy Hamilton. There are a total of two open seats, each with a six-year term.

• To see all of our coverage of the College of DuPage board of trustees race, including candidate bios, go to http://www.dailyherald.com/news/politics/election/race/College-Of-DuPage-School-Board/

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