Courts commission agrees DuPage judge lied to police about shooting

An Illinois Courts Commission panel says DuPage County Judge Patrick O'Shea behaved in ways "prejudicial to the administration of justice," including lying to police and retaliating against people who filed sexual harassment complaints against him.

The panel this week found in favor of the Judicial Inquiry Board, which filed a four-count complaint about the judge in October.

O'Shea had been charged with one count of making false and misleading statements to detectives about a September 2017 case in which he fired a bullet through a wall of his Wheaton apartment. He also was charged with one count of presenting misleading testimony before the Judicial Inquiry Board about that case; one count of trying to retaliate against a court clerk who filed a sexual harassment complaint against him; and one count of trying to retaliate against an administrative assistant for filing a sexual harassment complaint against him.

The panel did not say when it will announce potential disciplinary action against O'Shea. The commission could reprimand him, censure him, suspend him with or without pay, or remove him.

O'Shea was elected to the bench in 2012 and reelected in 2018.

In September 2017, residents of an apartment found a hole in their living room wall and later a spent bullet on the floor.

Wheaton police reports said O'Shea gave property managers and the police at least three reasons 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 nail gun.

He was charged with reckless conduct; the criminal complaint stated that O'Shea pulled the trigger without determining that the firearm was not loaded.

The trial was moved to Kane County, where O'Shea was acquitted by Judge Keith Johnson. He ruled that O'Shea was negligent when he fired a bullet through a wall, but his actions didn't meet reckless conduct requirements because the neighbors were not home at the time and, therefore, not in danger.

According to the judicial board's complaint, O'Shea filed a formal complaint in September 2017 against the court clerk who accused him of sexual harassment. A circuit judge and the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts substantiated the clerk's harassment complaint and ruled that O'Shea violated the Illinois Supreme Court's Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures.

The board complaint also said O'Shea took negative actions in 2016 against his former administrative assistant after she submitted information regarding another sexual harassment complaint. (The Administrative Office of Illinois Courts also ruled against O'Shea in that harassment case.) He complained to her supervisors and co-workers about her appearance and job performance, demanded she be fired, threatened to sue her, and threatened to hold her in contempt of court and take her in to custody.

O'Shea served on the DuPage County Board from 1990 until he became a judge.

He remains assigned to administrative duties.

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