The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board on Thursday announced it filed a complaint against a Cook County judge who allegedly sexually harassed court employees and a Chicago police officer.
Prior to JIB action, Circuit Judge Mauricio Araujo was sent to administrative duties — the strongest disciplinary action the circuit court’s Executive Committee can take on its own — after State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx filed a complaint with Chief Justice Timothy C. Evans about “inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments” Araujo made about another female state’s attorney.
After media reports surfaced about that incident, a court reporter and Chicago police officer came forward to report past incidents of alleged inappropriate conduct toward them.
A spokesman for Evans on Thursday said Araujo remains on administrative duties.
The complaint highlighted an incident from 2012 where Araujo allegedly got physically close to a court reporter in an elevator at the Domestic Violence Courthouse and asked her “how much money” she wanted to have sex with him.
In an effort to deescalate the situation, the court reporter laughed and tried to move away from Araujo, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
“Respondent continued his advances anyway, assuring the [c]ourt [r]eporter that he was ‘not joking’ with his request and again asking her ‘how much’ it would take,” the complaint states. “The [c]ourt [r]eporter refused to answer the offensive question and exited the elevator.”
The complaint stated the court reporter was “distressed and traumatized” after the event but did not report the incident because she was concerned what would happen to her if she made accusations against a judge.
A few weeks later the court reporter was again alone in a courthouse elevator with Araujo, who continued his alleged sexual advances toward her, according to the complaint.
She told him she had a boyfriend and he said it did “not matter,” according to the complaint.
After the second incident, the court reporter “actively avoided” courthouse elevators and only took them when carrying heavy equipment so she could avoid being alone with him again.
The reporter transferred from the Domestic Violence Courthouse to the Daley Center later in 2012, motivated in part by Araujo’s conduct and her concern it would continue.
The complaint also detailed an incident in 2016 when Araujo presided over a criminal courtroom at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
On Aug. 15, 2016, a female Chicago police officer met with Araujo in his chambers to get a search warrant signed.
As the officer entered his office, Araujo allegedly “approached the [o]fficer quickly with his arms extended, then moved his face within close proximity with hers in an attempt to kiss” her, according to the complaint.
In response the officer stuck her arm out and loudly stated “back sir” while asking “aren’t you married?” He indicated he was but said it did not matter, the complaint stated.
The officer then reportedly asked to leave his office so Araujo could sign the warrant either in his courtroom or near her squad car.
As the two were leaving Araujo allegedly attempted to grab her hand and said to the officer “just touch it.”
She pulled her hand away and asked “touch what?” He said “touch my butt,” the complaint stated.
The officer placed her hand on Araujo’s shoulder and gently shoved him into the courtroom so she could be in a larger area to move further away from him. Araujo signed the search warrant and the officer left, “distressed and traumatized following the incident,” according to the complaint.”
Since that incident, the officer decided she would only interact with Araujo if there was another member of her team present.
Araujo could not be reached for comment.
The case will now go before the Illinois Courts Commission for a formal hearing.
After the conclusion of a public hearing, the commission can reprimand, censure, suspend without pay or remove the judge from office.
The inquiry board acts as a prosecutor in the case. Kevin M. Fee and Martha C. Clarke of Sidley Austin LLP have been assigned to prosecute the complaint, according to a JIB news release.