CHICAGO -- Two University Park, Ill., police officers have been fired for failing to properly investigate a reported sexual assault against a 14-year-old girl, allegedly by someone one of the officers knew.
Samuel Olloway and Donald Cunningham, both 48, were fired in February after the town's police and fire commission found them to be "derelict, negligent and incompetent" in their handling last year of the sexual assault report as well as the arrest and detention of a University Park resident for jaywalking.
Cunningham also was cited by the commission for repeatedly refusing orders get up from his squad-room seat during a shift change and help a disabled man outside at an assisted-living center about a block away from the police station.
The commission's findings and complaints against the officers were obained by the Chicago Tribune through an open records request and court records.
An attorney for one of the officers called the hearing process unfair. Cunningham was involved in the arrest of Charles Clements, a retired Marine convicted last year of gunning down a neighbor whose puppy urinated on his manicured University Park lawn. About four months after Clements' arrest, his stepson Theo Brooks -- the first person Clements called after the murder, according to trial testimony -- was appointed to the town's police and fire commission.
Cunningham sought to have Brooks recuse himself, but the board denied the motion and later voted 3-0 to fire the officers. Olloway and Cunningham are challenging the board's decision.
Cunningham's attorney could not be reached.
"You can't sit on the board and be impartial with a close family relative having been arrested," said attorney Jeffrey Burke, who represents Olloway. "The entire hearing process was infected by this."
Brooks referred questions to the board's attorney John Broihier, who said the relationship had "no impact."
In September, Olloway and Cunningham were called to a University Park home after a woman reported her foster daughter had been sexually assaulted, according to disciplinary charges filed against the officers by Deputy Police Chief Gregory Box. The girl told the two officers that the sex was consensual but that another man had subjected her to "unwanted/unpermitted sexual touching," according to the charges.
Even though the girl was too young under Illinois law to give consent, the officers did not notify their superiors or chief investigator of the allegations nor did they document their interview in a report even though they were required to do so, according to the board findings. The board's report also noted that one of the officers testified that he may have known the suspect, but provides no further details.
The officers decided the mother's complaint was unfounded, a decision the board said had "no basis." Olloway acknowledged the mistake, but Cunningham told the board he was unaware of the department's procedures for investigating sexual assaults.
It's unclear exactly what happened to the sexual assault case. Broihier said investigators re-examined it, but police officials did not return calls for comment. A Tribune review of the nearly 3,000 felony and misdemeanor charges filed in Will County since the mother's report shows no sex-crime charges were brought naming a victim with the girl's initials.
It is possible charges were filed in another county if the alleged incident happened there.
Attempts to reach the woman who told police her foster daughter had been sexually assaulted were unsuccessful.
(c) 2011, Chicago Tribune.
Visit the Chicago Tribune, www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.