Female jail guards suing over detainee sexual harassment

Updated 11/10/2017 4:11 PM

CHICAGO -- Female correctional officers at Cook County Jail in Chicago have filed a federal lawsuit alleging the sheriff has tolerated sexual harassment by male detainees.

The lawsuit filed Friday come days after female public defenders filed a lawsuit alleging similar misconduct by detainees in lockups at courthouses around the county as well as at the jail.

Both lawsuits allege authorities haven't done enough to stop the detainees from exposing themselves, masturbating and threatening female employees. Friday's lawsuit alleges harassment "so severe and pervasive and so consistently traumatizing as to make the jail an objectively abusive and hostile workplace for women."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a court order forcing Sheriff Tom Dart to take action to limit the harassment.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Cara Smith says the office continues efforts to ensure a safe environment for its employees.

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