Des Plaines OKs investigation into police party sexual assault allegations
Des Plaines aldermen voted unanimously Monday to hire an outside firm to investigate allegations of sexual assault and unwanted physical contact against a female officer during an off-duty party last summer.
Aldermen authorized the city to spend up to $50,000 on the probe into potential misconduct at a golf outing and party at Hilldale Golf Club attended by dozens of officers on June 19. Hoffman Estates police have been conducting a criminal investigation into the matter. The outside consultant will begin working when the criminal investigation is complete, officials say.
The city council had little discussion about hiring an investigative firm. However, Aldermen Malcolm Chester and Dick Sayad, two of the city council members who sponsored the proposal, said they want the investigation to bring clarity to a swirl of rumors.
"We want to clear it," Sayad said. "We want to make sure everything was done properly, and we want to make sure there is no major problem in our police department."
Chester said an investigation by an outside firm is necessary because Hoffman Estates police are seeking evidence that could be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," whereas an internal probe may suggest corrective action or provide evidence in a lawsuit.
"It's my hope, I should say, that the facts will come forward and we find out a lot of these allegations turn out to not be correct."
Police Chief Bill Kushner has said the department would have continued its internal investigation whether or not the city council hired an outside firm Monday.