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Chicago Park District suspends 2 managers amid investigation

August 16, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Park District has suspended two high-level managers amid disciplinary action against 42 employees, including nine cases stemming from an investigation into sexual misconduct and abuse within its Beaches and Pools Unit, the parks CEO said Monday.

The two managers — the assistant director of recreation and beaches and the pools manager — were placed on emergency suspension Friday while the district awaits the outcome of the investigation by the inspector general’s office, CEO Michael Kelly announced.

Seven other employees also were placed on emergency suspension, and six others have resigned and have been placed on a do-not-hire list, Kelly said. The remaining employees received a written reprimand, suspension, chose to resign or were terminated and are no longer eligible to work for the park district, he said.

The inspector general’s investigation probe began in March 2020, when Kelly turned over a complaint he received from a former lifeguard, who described a toxic environment at one beach, accusing fellow lifeguards of subjecting her and others to sexual harassment and sexual and physical abuse. She also reported witnessing rampant drug and alcohol use by fellow lifeguards.

Chicago public radio station WBEZ first reported in April that the park district was investigating wide-ranging claims of sexual misconduct among pool and beach employees.