Judicial board accuses DuPage judge of lying to police, retaliating in sex harassment case

  • DuPage County Judge Patrick O'Shea after his September 2017 arrest on reckless conduct charges. He later was acquitted.

    DuPage County Judge Patrick O'Shea after his September 2017 arrest on reckless conduct charges. He later was acquitted.

  • DuPage Judge Patrick O'Shea leaves a Kane County courthouse last November, before his trial on reckless conduct charges.

      DuPage Judge Patrick O'Shea leaves a Kane County courthouse last November, before his trial on reckless conduct charges. Justin Kmitch | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board has filed a complaint with the Illinois Courts Commission against DuPage Judge Patrick O'Shea, charging him with "conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice" and bringing "the judicial office into disrepute."

The Thursday filing puts gears into motion for a hearing before the Illinois Courts Commission, which experts say could take up to a year to get underway.

In the complaint, O'Shea is charged with one count of making false and misleading statements to detectives and one count of presenting misleading testimony before the Judicial Inquiry Board related to a September 2017 case in which he fired a bullet into a neighboring condo unit in Wheaton.

O'Shea was charged with reckless conduct in connection with the shooting but later acquitted.

The inquiry board also charged O'Shea with attempting to retaliate against a court clerk who filed a sexual harassment complaint against him and with attempting to retaliate against an administrative assistant for filing a similar complaint.

If found guilty of the charges by the courts commission, O'Shea could face a range of penalties that include a public reprimand, censure, suspension or removal from the bench.

The complaint alleges O'Shea filed a formal complaint in September 2017 against a court clerk who had lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him. Circuit Judge Robert Kleeman and the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts investigated and substantiated the clerk's complaint and deemed O'Shea's actions to be a violation of the Illinois Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures.

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O'Shea also is alleged to have taken other negative actions in the summer of 2016 against his former administrative assistant, including verbally complaining to her supervisors and co-workers about her appearance and job performance, demanding her termination, threatening to sue her, and threatening to hold her in contempt and take her into custody.

Those actions are alleged to have happened after his assistant submitted information in support of a sexual harassment complaint against him that Judge Ronald Sutter and the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts investigated, substantiated and also deemed to be a violation of the Illinois Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures.

O'Shea was acquitted of the gun-related reckless conduct charges on March 2. Kane County Judge Keith Johnson ruled O'Shea was negligent when he accidentally fired a bullet from his revolver through a wall and into a neighbor's apartment, but that his actions did not meet reckless conduct requirements because the neighbors were not home and, therefore, not in danger.

The criminal complaint in that case said O'Shea "pulled the trigger without first determining that the firearm was not loaded, causing the firearm to discharge, causing a bullet to enter the living area of the adjoining apartment."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A neighbor noticed a hole in a living room wall after returning home from work and reported it to the apartment complex's management office, according to a Wheaton police report obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request.

On Sept. 24, the neighbors told police they found what appeared to be a spent bullet on their floor. They turned it over to police, along with photographs of their damaged wall.

Police reports said O'Shea gave property managers and police detectives at least three excuses for the hole, including that he accidentally put a screwdriver through the wall while hanging a mirror and that his son accidentally caused the hole while using a pneumatic nail gun.

The allegations made by the Judicial Inquiry Board allege O'Shea made similar statements while testifying before the board.

O'Shea is on the Nov. 6 ballot seeking retention, though his courthouse access remains restricted.

"Judge O'Shea was previously assigned to administrative duties on March 26, 2018, and his access to court facilities was limited to entry through a court security checkpoint," DuPage Chief Judge Daniel Guerin said in a written statement Thursday afternoon. "Both his assignment to administrative duties and restricted access to court facilities remain in place until further order of the court."

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