A lifeguard in Chicago who allegedly “inappropriately touched” a girl participating in a parks program has been fired.
The Chicago Park District’s inspector general began an investigation after receiving a complaint that a "male lifeguard inappropriately touched an underage female program participant during the summer of 2022,” records show, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday.
Investigators were able to obtain photos of one of the incidents that they said "showed the lifeguard grappling with the victim in an attempt to throw her into the water," according to the inspector general’s office’s latest quarterly report, the Sun-Times reported. “The victim reported that [the] actions made her feel uncomfortable.”
The report doesn’t note the girl's age nor where what she described happened.
The lifeguard was fired and the accusations were forwarded to the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which are both investigating.
About two years ago, allegations of sexual assault, abuse and harassment surfaced at the city’s public beaches and pools. The scandal led to criminal charges against two male lifeguards, the resignations of top Chicago Park District officials along with promises of reform from Rosa Escareño, the agency’s general superintendent and chief executive officer, the Sun-Times reported.
WBEZ reported that the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx opened an investigation into the scandal two years ago and eventually charged two lifeguard supervisors with sex crimes.
A year ago, Maurico Ramirez — who was 32 at the time — admitted committing sex crimes against much younger female employees he supervised.
Ramirez was convicted and sentenced to three years of probation, 40 hours of community service, electronic monitoring and lifetime sex offender registration after pleading guilty to two felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to the WBEZ report.
A case against another former lifeguard supervisor charged with sex crimes, Hector Coz, is still pending, according to court records.