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12/10/87 Jimmie Mcgowan, v. the Department of

December 10, 1987





518 N.E.2d 630, 165 Ill. App. 3d 176, 116 Ill. Dec. 8 1987.IL.1816

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. S. Bruce Scidmore, Judge, presiding.

Rehearing Denied February 23, 1988.


JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT and DUNN, JJ., concur.


Plaintiff, Jimmie McGowan, appeals from a decision of the circuit court of Du Page County, which on administrative review upheld the Illinois Department of Correction's (Department's) decision to discharge him. Plaintiff was a certified employee of the Department, holding the position of youth supervisor II at a facility of the Department known as the Illinois Youth Center at Du Page (IYC-Du Page). Plaintiff began employment with the Department in March 1972, and charges for his discharge were brought by the Department in July 1981. Plaintiff requested a hearing on the charges before the Civil Service Commission of the State of Illinois (Commission), and said hearings commenced before a hearing officer appointed by the Commission.

The charges against the plaintiff were based upon an incident which allegedly occurred on November 14, 1980. Plaintiff was charged with having had sexual intercourse with a female youth who was in the custody of the juvenile division of the Department at IYC-Du Page.

Initially called as an adverse witness, plaintiff testified that on November 14, 1980, he was assigned to Delta Cottage during the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift. On that day there were approximately six or seven female inmates in Delta Cottage. Delta Cottage was not a permanent residence for inmates but was used for inmates who were entering the facility and had disciplinary problems or medical problems. On the date in question, the Delta Cottage inmates were locked in their rooms with the exception of one inmate, Regina Cochran (Cochran), who was being admitted and, therefore, was not required to be locked in a room.

Plaintiff testified that he first became aware of Cochran when he entered the office of Delta Cottage at 2 p.m. and that he spoke with Cochran for a few minutes and informed her of the rules and regulations concerning the IYC-Du Page. He also stated that he questioned her as to why she had been sent to IYC-Du Page. Plaintiff said that the conversation lasted about 15 to 20 minutes and that he then went on with his regular duties in Delta Cottage.

Plaintiff further testified that at approximately 8 p.m., when the students were being rotated, Cochran came back into his office, and he requested that she clean the dayroom. Plaintiff stated that Cochran cleaned the dayroom, and shortly thereafter another security officer came into the cottage for the purpose of permitting the cottage's inmates to take showers. At approximately 9:30 p.m., chief of security Grisette came into the cottage to distribute medications, and, at about 10 p.m., plaintiff was relieved of his duties.

Cochran testified that she was committed to IYC-Du Page in November 1980. She had originally been incarcerated at a Winnebago County facility on a prostitution charge. There she assaulted a staff member and, as a result, was sent to IYC-Du Page. Cochran testified that on the way to IYC-Du Page, she was riding with another inmate, Diana Darwin, who told her that the male staff members at the facility were having sex with female students. Cochran further testified that she arrived at the facility on November 14, 1980, at approximately 11 a.m., and after a short period of time, was taken to Delta Cottage. She stated that at approximately 2 p.m. on that date, plaintiff came on duty at that cottage and that she knocked on her cell's door and told him that she was not supposed to be locked up. Cochran testified that later in the afternoon, she was allowed to be in the recreation room and stayed there until after dinner when plaintiff then called her into his office, had her sit down, and began asking her questions about her family, children, and boyfriend. She then testified that plaintiff told her to go into the cottage's bathroom and that plaintiff then came in behind her. She said that plaintiff shut the door and told her to pull her pants down, which she did. She testified that plaintiff then pulled his pants down, and they had sex on the floor. Cochran stated that she told plaintiff at that time that students or staff might come into the bathroom but plaintiff told her he wasn't worried. Thereafter, Cochran stated that she changed her clothes, washed up, and approximately an hour later, plaintiff asked her to clean the bathroom.

Cochran testified that she had a conversation approximately two to three days later with another resident, Diana Darwin, about what had occurred. She stated that she did not inform any administrator or staff member as to the events which allegedly had taken place on November 14, 1980, until late February or early March 1981. She testified that she asked Ms. Cooper, a counselor at IYC-Du Page, about an ongoing investigation concerning complaints that staff members and students were engaged in sexual relations. Cochran did not report the incident at that time but reported it approximately a week later. Cochran testified she waited over four months to report the alleged incident because she was fearful of reprisals.

Cochran further testified that on the date in question she had the opportunity to speak about the incident with other students, chief of security Grisette and supervisor Hazelwood; however, she did not do so. She testified that plaintiff never threatened her or ...

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