One of the charges lodged against Sgt. Aaron Booker, was a violation of a sexual harassment policy. Even though Booker was found not to be in violation of that policy, sexual harassment is obviously a violation that reaches the level of a public hearing.
Where are the public hearings, prosecuted by the states attorney’s office, during the years of 2005 – 2008, when a clear case of sexual harassment, involving more than 100 sexually explicit emails, made the rounds among some of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department staff?
According to reports in the Rockford Register Star, the emails were sent by employees on county time using county resources. Sheriff Meyer also admitted to the editorial board that the emails were sexual harassment. Then, why the double standard?
When was the last public hearing before the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Merit Commission for a violation of department policies by a member of the staff in the Sheriff’s Department? The emails were a clear violation of the sexual harassment policy, yet resulted in no public hearing, because no complaint was formally filed? That’s the reason for having a policy, so administrative action takes place regardless of a formal complaint.
This hearing involved four days of testimony and 27 witnesses. What was the cost in time and effort to the county to pursue this public process? Why wasn’t this simply handled as a personnel issue in closed session, like legal and contractural issues, in deference to an employee who had received above average performance reviews, in view of the allegations he faced in the public hearing?